- Dr. Jenna Daku
Resources for the Holiday Season
Over the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, it's important to have some additional resources that can support you to keep fighting the eating disorder and nourishing yourself emotionally while you're in recovery. I'm writing this post to offer you some of my favourite resources that I often suggest to my clients. They can be broken down in to three important areas of recovery:
1. Building self-compassion. I believe we are all born with self-compassion, but throughout our lives we learn to criticise and dislike ourselves. When you're struggling with disordered eating, you have a bully inside of your head that seeks to tear you down and isolate you. Once you re-connect with your innate self-compassion (and it's there, because it guided you to this blog!) that inner bully can no longer thrive. This is especially important over the Winter Holidays because we are often so busy that it's easy to lose sight of how important it is to be kind to ourselves.
2. Cultivating and holding on to hope. Believing in the possibility of recovery is so important, because it can provide you with added strength throughout the challenges you will face along the way in recovery. Over the Holiday period, while your therapist or part of your support network might be away, having additional sources of hope can be helpful to get you through a pretty stressful and busy period. Please remember that hope can be cultivated!
3. Challenging your diet mentality and healthist values (aka the moralisation and idealisation of things that are considered 'healthy'), which both feed in to feelings of guilt and shame around food and your body. In a nutshell, this means identifying and challenging the rules that you abide by in relation to food, your body, and exercise. Challenging your diet mentality is important for recovery because the thoughts associate it will fuel the eating disorder and potential relapse if left unchecked.
In my therapeutic work with individuals who are struggling with disordered eating, I've found that these three areas are often at the foundation of recovery work. However, every individual is different and recovery is nuanced, involving the healing of emotional wounds or trauma. So there's a lot more involved in recovery than what I've listed above, and these resources are not meant to be a substitution for seeking support from healthcare professionals. Rather, they're a list of suggestions for supporting your continued growth throughout the Winter Holidays xx
Brene Brown -- She's the queen of vulnerability and compassion. Her new book "Braving the Wilderness" is outstanding.
She also has a wealth of TED talks on youtube that you can look up, but here are a couple of links to my favourites:
Megan Crabbe- As somebody who has recovered from anorexia, written a book, and created a massive online community to support body positivity and recovery, she is extremely inspirational. You can follow her on Instagram
I love that there's a growing momentum for Health At Every Size and Anti-Diet approaches that challenge the diet-mentality, weight stigma, and healthism. If you want to learn more about them and how they pertain to eating disorder recovery, here's three that I listen to:
"Don't Salt My Game"
"Calm" and "Headspace" are two of my favourites for basic guided meditations.
"ThinkUp: Positive Affirmations" is great if you're looking to introduce some more positivity in to your life.
There is also a wealth of apps that you can download that will send you motivational quotes.
*Please note that it is not advisable to use meditation if you've been advised by your healthcare professional to avoid doing so due to underlying trauma.
Reading about other people's experiences in recovery can be reassuring because it can normalise your experience. Here's a few links to blogs that I find inspiring because they're written by real people, like you, who are fighting back against eating disorders. You are not alone x
I've also collaborated with my colleague Rachel, a Registered Dietician, to start a revolution against diet-focused New Year Resolutions. If you're sick and tired of devoting January to trying to change your body, check out our website for some free resources. We'll be updating it throughout the month of January 2018 with blogs and short videos to keep you motivated to nourish your emotional and mental health and ditch the diet-mentality.
If you find yourself struggling significantly over the Holidays, please don't hesitate to reach out to B-eat. They offer a wide range of online and telephone support services and they are there for you.
The Samaritans also offer confidential support and they're only a phone call away.
Please remember to take care of YOU throughout this period. Build time out everyday to practice self-care. Schedule 'down time' to do the things that nourish your soul. Spend time with people that you love and who support you and your recovery, but don't be afraid to ask for alone time too.
Wishing you all a safe and nourishing Holiday Season.
See you all in 2018 x