4 Ways to Stay Encouraged Throughout Recovery
By: Stephani Fenkanyn, Health Educator at BANA
The journey of healing from an eating disorder has its ups and downs. No experience is the same, and it’s important to acknowledge that it will look different for everyone. However, one thing we know that is true for all is that recovery is never linear. In a perfect world, we would see a straight line towards a final destination. In this ideal situation, rainbows, butterflies and streams of sunshine would be waiting and a harpist would come out to serenade us and give us accolades. Wouldn’t this be nice? 😉 Well, we know it doesn’t work like that. Recovery looks more like a mix of sunshine, rain clouds, clear skies and large thunderstorms. There is no destination, but rather, it is made up of consistent effort. Not to mention the playlist would probably not be a harp melody, but perhaps a mashup of all genres of different tempos, from fast heavy metal to slow pop ballades, depending on the day!
That being said, there is hope. It does get easier. YOU get stronger. You add more to your mental health toolkit. You release what you are able to when you are ready. The small wins and adaptations you make as you progress add up. Along the recovery journey, it is completely normal to feel like you’ve reached a point where you can’t go on, you’re exhausted, or you feel you’ve heard it all. It is normal to have those days. The most important factor is to keep going.
Here are 4 suggestions that may help you stay motivated throughout recovery:
- Continue to express your emotions regularly
It may be that you are feeling great, and that is wonderful, nevertheless, it is still important to talk to someone you trust (therapist, friend, peer, family member, etc) regularly. Although you may be asymptomatic one day, the internal process is still underway. The more you discuss and talk about it, the more unearthing and healing that will take place.
- Slow down and be kind to yourself
Keep in mind that you’re going through periods of deep learning. Your mind and body need rest. Take it step by step. Remember that you won’t have it all figured out in one day. Give the healing process time and really place your attention on it while you are working on it, so that it won’t interrupt your day to day in a bigger way going forward.
- Surround yourself with supportive people who make self-care a priority
Positive energy and encouragement are contagious. Be aware of who makes you feel uplifted and hopeful. You need to fill yourself up, rather than be around those who might further drain you. Think about qualities you like in certain people and make time to be around their positive influence.
- Relish in activities that help you connect to yourself
Throughout recovery, you may find out things about yourself and gain more clarity of who you are. Nourish this new you with activities and hobbies you enjoy. This could be as simple as reading a book before bed, learning about gardening online, or listening to music while sitting outdoors. Whatever it is, make sure you end it feeling happy, calm and satisfied, like you’ve just fed your soul.