1. Weekend with Nick’s Mom
Saturday we went strawberry picking in the morning, ate epic fish tacos for lunch and spent the afternoon at Cape Ann before grabbing ice cream for an afternoon snack and heading back into the city. It felt very summer and was just a really good day.
2. Feeling your feelings more intensely when you let go of coping mechanisms
There are many things in life where the saying, “it’s gets worse before it gets better” applies. And in recovery from disordered eating or an eating disorder, I think there is some application to this too. Controlling food, feeling dependent on exercise and micromanaging your body are coping mechanisms. There are a lot of other coping mechanisms we use in life that might be helpful in the short term, but they aren’t also healthy in the long term. In the moment, controlling the calories, macronutrients or ingredients in your food eases anxiety and numbs you out from other feelings. It protects you in that moment.
Blaming our bodies for struggles we face in life is another way we cope and numb out from hard feelings. Maybe you’re going through a life transition where things feel unstable and you’re feeling insecure. In order to cope, you might blame how you’re feeling on your physical body. When really, how you’re feeling has nothing to do with your physical body. Exercising is a way we avoid anxiety or temporarily escape from stress – although exercise can be a healthy behavior and way we can care for ourselves, exercising out of fear (for example: I’ll gain weight, my body will change, or I can’t eat ____ if I don’t exercise) helps us to avoid feelings, but doesn’t help us work through stress, anxiety and other painful feelings.
When you start letting go of these coping mechanisms that helped you get through tough times, but aren’t necessarily serving you and allowing you to be your healthiest self, you often will experience feelings more intensely. You are no longer as numbed out. So the feelings that were there all along bubble up and can feel really intense, distressing and uncomfortable. Therefore, it might feel like letting go of unhealthy behaviors made things worse instead of better. Hang in there and give yourself time to learn new healthier coping mechanisms that truly do serve you and allow you to not only feel your feelings, but allow you to be your healthiest self.
3. Snack Plates
Lunch is usually kind of mehhhh for me. I’m in the middle of the workday and that alone makes lunch feel like one more thing I have to think about. If someone just showed up and put a plate of food in front of me that would be awesome and I’d probably love lunch. But thinking about what to eat for the week and preparing it just feels like one more thing to do. Maybe I’m crazy…anyone else out there? My solution lately…snack plates. I don’t have to do any cooking and I just throw everything on a plate. While I love the idea of a lunch break, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. If I’m working at my NP job, I might be eating in between patients or while I’m driving in between inpatient and residential treatment centers. Sometimes I’m in a groove and I don’t want to stop to sit down and eat. So having a bunch of things on a plate that I can eat as I go has been working lately. Maybe this won’t work forever, but for right now I’m into it. There’s several textures, flavors and colors so I don’t get bored. I I usually have cheese, cottage cheese, hummus, deli meat or chicken, veggies, fruit, and crackers on hand and I just eat what sounds good. I ate a cookie after this snack plate above since I was still a bit hungry.
4. Social Media, Email and My Mental Health
A few months ago I stopped doing weekend recap posts and decided to step back in terms of frequency from social media. So for the most part, I stopped getting on social media on the weekends – or I guess stopped holding the expectation that I needed to be creating content and engaging on social media on the weekend – and stopped getting on social media at night. It felt like work never really had a start and end date and my professional life was bleeding into my personal life and after six years of being online, I was craving separation. That’s been really, really freeing and healthy for me. I feel so much more energized, refreshed and excited about work and what I get to do everyday. It sounds silly and small but for me, not taking photos to recap the weekend or engaging on social media over the weekend has allowed me to really unplug and separate from work on Saturdays and Sundays. Come Monday, I’m ready for the week instead of feeling like the week rolled into the weekend. That’s just what is working for me – thank you all for sticking with me even with less frequent interaction on social media. 🙂
I had a reader email me and ask about tips for being productive while working from home. Maybe I’ll expand on this in a post if there is interest, but let me say, I am not the best at this and I’ve had to learn to put in place some firm boundaries so I’m actually productive. As I type this I’m kind of lol’ing because there are people that are wayyyyy more skilled at this than me. But, email boundaries for me are huge – not only for productivity, but for my mental health as well. I find for me, answering email for 20 minutes in the AM, afternoon, and PM works best. I give myself 20 minutes and then move on with other things. If it’s not urgent, I file it away in a folder in Gmail and return to it later (for example: I answer a lot of reader emails on Fridays so if you email me, expect an email most likely on a Friday :)). If I can answer it in less than 2 minutes, I answer right then and there. I don’t answer email past 7pm M-F or on the weekends to separate work from life unless it’s something really unusual – like an important update on a client a physician was sending me last Saturday. Once those 20 minutes are up, I close out of my email tabs and move on with my to do list. That’s working for me, but if you have tips I would love to hear them!!
5. Body Image Therapist Image
If you don’t follow @bodyimage_therpist on Instagram, I highly recommend! She posted this image last week and I saved it. She shared Brene Brown’s quote from Daring Greatly, “True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world. Our sense of true belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
That’s a good dose of truth.
Have a great week!