Monday, February 16, 2015

Recovery: What has worked for me Positive coping skills and challenges, by Ashley Polson

Being in recovery can be exciting and challenging at the same time. Having been in recovery myself for almost eight years now has given me the opportunity to learn how to take care of myself and learn what works for me in order to maintain a healthy, stable recovery.

There are many times where we need to look at what skills we have and tweak them according to what is happening in our lives at any given time. If some things do not work as good as they used to, coming up with alternatives might be more helpful. Sometimes that also includes asking for extra support from friends, family, a therapist, a support group, etc.

Some things that have worked for me have included limiting my exposure to media such as TV commercials, magazine articles, etc. regarding weight loss or diets during times I am feeling especially vulnerable. I have also learned to remove myself from conversations on those types of topics or redirect them so it is something more healthy and positive. That has also been a good way for me to learn how to use my voice and be assertive in order to take care of myself.

Using positive self-talk and reframing negative thoughts has also allowed me to focus on things outside of my body when I am having difficulty with body image. I try to remind myself that each day my body might be different, clothes might not fit the same day to day, but that it will not be like that forever and instead try to practice self-care and do something nice for myself whether it is something simple like having a bubble bath, going for a walk, or spending time with a pet and just distracting myself. Also, paying attention to my body signals in terms of being hungry, emotionally drained, tired, stressed, etc. is important so I can recognize what is happening for me and take care of myself in order to minimize the potential downward spiral that often leads to negative thinking/feeling.

I have learned a lot about clothes during my recovery as well. Like most, I used to be concerned about size until I started to realize that every store, every style, etc. is going to differ. Instead of focusing on a size, I now focus on what actually fits my body and what makes me feel good. Even if that means trying on hundreds of pairs of jeans and throwing them across the fitting room out of frustration, I have finally learned it is not my body that is the problem and is not what needs to change; it is the companies who make the clothes. They do not accurately reflect every body shape or size. But how could they when no one person is the same to begin with? Even if I have to go through my closet every few months and donate clothes that do not fit me or that I do not wear anymore and have to replace them, I would still rather do that than try to change my body to fit into things that just aren't meant to fit anymore.

As for food, I now look at it in terms of nutrients instead of calories. In doing that, it has become more of a healthy way for me to nourish myself instead of focusing on things that do not truly matter. It has also lessened the level of anxiety I used to feel and has allowed me to be flexible, not deprive myself of things, and not be fixated on rules surrounding what I eat. Facing fears around food is still something I struggle with at times. New foods continue to be somewhat anxiety provoking but also can be really exciting, more so if I find a new food I enjoy. I like trying a new recipe and proving to myself that food can be fun and not so scary. It is especially nice when you  are with someone who is also trying something new so you can share that experience. 

Overall, learning what works for you in the recovery process is important. What works for one person might not work for you. Having a list of things you have found useful or skills you have yet to implement can be helpful when you are struggling and need some encouragement to get through a difficult time. Also, never be afraid to reach out for more support if you need it. It will help strengthen you that  much more.

Ashley Polson is 31 years old from the Okanagan and is passionate about spreading awareness on eating disorders. She is almost eight years in recovery after a seven-year struggle. She has been involved via social media in mentoring others who struggle and enjoys being able to offer support for those seeking recovery.

1 comment:

  1. You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging journey.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.