Manage the Stress

Life has been crazy busy lately, which is part of the reason why it’s been so long since I’ve written. One of the most stressful events in life is moving. Another one of the most stressful events is job hunting/interviewing. It just so happens that both events are happening at the same time in my life. I’ve lived in the same house my entire life and so I’ve never experienced the challenges of moving before. The disorganization of moved boxes and scattered items is enough to drive me nuts. Luckily, most things have been moved out, but I won’t be able to settle down until everything is in its place. Job hunting is no fun and interviewing in the midst of a big change is less than ideal. Meeting new people and going to new places is anxiety producing. And while I could’ve talked some things out in therapy yesterday, I had to cancel my appointment because of car trouble. Add in a dead car battery and a fast approaching book deadline, and it only equals one thing: STRESS.

But what this post is about isn’t stress and what’s been going wrong, but how to deal with those things. It’s definitely easy to get caught up in Murphy’s Law, that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Of course, if you think like that, it will seem that way. You can also choose to acknowledge whatever has happened, but also move on so not to get caught up in the negativity. Sometimes it’s hard not to think, “Why is this happening all at once? Why me?” Sometimes it’s hard to think otherwise, but it can be done. When stressful situations occur, you have to take care of yourself in order to not get too overwhelmed.

Deep Breathing – While we all know how to breathe naturally, short breaths don’t help with feeling better. I know for myself, I tend to hold my breath when I’m anxious, and so I need to remind myself to take deep breaths. Let your stomach rise and fall and concentrate on nothing else.

Guided Relaxation – I learned how to follow guided relaxation during IOP and it’s been a great resource, especially before bedtime. Our muscles tense easily and it’s hard to notice sometimes. Guided relaxation helps with releasing the tension and properly relaxing. I suggest Andrew Johnson’s Relax (Relax Free); it’s put me to sleep every time I’ve used it! You can also find his apps on iTunes.

Practice Mindfulness – This isn’t an easy task, at least not in the beginning. Our mind often thinks about events that will happen in the future, or things that have already happened. This doesn’t help in stressful situations. Focusing on the present moment does. Instead of worrying about tasks that need to be completed while you wash your hair in the shower, focus on the sensations in that moment. Notice how the water feels, how the shampoo smells.

Stress will forever be a part of our lives but there are tricks we can use to keep things from becoming unbearable. Sometimes, it does seem as though everything piles up at once, but it doesn’t last. My move is almost over, I did well at the interview, I rescheduled therapy for this afternoon, and a new battery brought my car back to life. I still need to deal with the book deadline, but after everything else, that’s a piece of cake.

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Lucky #7

Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that I am definitely not one to brag about my accomplishments. For the most part, I feel embarrassed if I am praised for something I have done. It’s hard for me to tell others about something I am proud of. Since there is always someone else who has done the same, I don’t feel it’s necessary to point it out. Doing well is not good enough for me; it’s only worth praising if and when I’m the best, if I’m the only one in the world who has done it. For something to be an accomplishment, it has to be BIG and unique. Continue reading

The Power of Words

Wording can be changed in your thinking, too. “My day is ruined!” and “It’s okay, I won’t let this destroy my day.” are both responses to the same situation. You may guess which one works better. (Hint: Not the first one!)

It Does Get Better. Really.

If someone would have told me two years ago that I would be at this point in recovery right now, I would have laughed in their face. Two years ago, I was preparing for another round of IOP, my third intake within a little over a year. I was a “frequent flier” and joked about how much time I was spending at the hospital. What wasn’t funny were the massive checks I had to sign in order to pay for the program. It wasn’t fun to be handed the same worksheets over and over, because the program is more or less a continuous loop of lessons. I thought that it would be a never ending cycle of intakes and discharges, with my “real life” in between in short spurts. My desire to recover wasn’t very strong and I became comfortable with the routines. I didn’t need to think too hard and I didn’t need to feel much pain. But eventually, I realized that I was wasting valuable time.
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The Butterfly of Freedom

I am not sure where I found this image, or who the artist is, but I absoultely love it! It sums up eating disorder recovery in one simple piece of artwork.

It’s so easy to stay inside the box for safety, but freedom is only truly available when you leave.