Springtime Wellness Tips
The first day of spring has fallen, and even if the weather hasn't quite caught up around the nation, sun breaks, small flowers, and other small signs are showing uplifting promises that sunny skies and crisp, refreshing weather will soon be upon us! Below are a few of ideas, some may be new and others you may already use, for the upcoming season.
Brighten up your bathroom or kitchen. Sometimes it helps to makeover or even simply replace towels, rugs, other small things in places that may have been triggering spots. Spring cleaning also helps! Just taking on small projects, one at a time, is a great way to get a handle on winter build up. Make local donations with your gently used items; everything helps!
When you feel old urges beginning to come on, set a timer and have a list of back up tasks and distractions. Maybe you need to vacuum. Have you mopped your floor this week? Is there a craft drawer you've been needing to clean out? Could that ten dollars your ED wants to spend on food be used for something new to brighten up your living space or put toward a treat such as a haircut or massage? Maybe you're saving for something else that you're passionate about; keep those goals where you can easily see them.
OUT AND ABOUT
In addition to spring cleaning, getting out and about this time of year to break the winter blues. Check out what's happening in your community. A great place to start is your local library or community center. Libraries now have a building catalog of DVD's, CD's, and even video games. They also offer a variety of classes, free music downloads, as well as free magazine digital downloads. Check their monthly newsletter for other events going on such as free language or educational classes. Sometimes it's hard to take that first step out of your comfort zone, often because the eating disorder has isolated us for so long. If you have a friend or support person that can go with you the first time that can be beneficial, if not, don't let it stop you; such events can be a great stepping stone to meeting others and bursting that isolation bubble.
Get outside, too! Vitamin D is a natural anti-depressant! With spring and summer upon us, and hopefully refreshing seasons, it's a great time to explore new activities or try out interests and passions you may have enjoyed in the past that the eating disorder took away. If you haven't been doing much or are slowly introducing light to moderate activity back into your lifestyle, start with simple short walks or even gardening. If feasible, try walking to an errand rather than driving. However, remember that the activity is for enjoyment and keep the eating disorder in check for ulterior motives if it has been an issue in the past.
SPRING TIME DBT
Surprisingly, many of these day to day techniques are all part of continuing to exercise your wise mind and maintain balance. If you are into using DBT, two distress tolerance skills to keep in mind are: wise mind ACCEPTS, and wise mind SELF SOOTHES with the five senses. ACCEPTS is the acronym for remembering to distract with: Activities (cleaning, going for a walk), Contributing (donating, volunteering), Comparisons, Emotions (If you need to let your emotional side out, watch a movie, listen to a certain song), Pushing Away, Thoughts(mentally take a vacation from the thought/situation for a while, distract, and come back to it when you're not as vulnerable and feel more able), and Sensations(hot/cold methods, shower, jump in a lake/pool if it's during a warm summer-no polar plunges! breathe)!
Soothing with the five sense can be with Vision (having a bouquet of flowers, putting up a new picture, going on a pretty walk) HEARING (listening to relaxing music, playing an instrument) SMELL (lighting a relaxing candle, having a special lotion) TASTE (enjoying those new juicy berries, enjoy a small treat mindfully) TOUCH (a relaxing shower/bath, cold compress, soft shirt, fresh cool evening air).
Getting back into your summer and spring clothes may be triggering, so prepare yourself in advance. If you absolutely know the clothes will not fit, don't let your ED take over or submit yourself to the triggering experience of trying them on; just put them in the donate bag. Yes, you may have to make a few new purchases, but remind yourself of the new energy and ability to experience the coming new seasons you will have with a healthy body and mind. Thrift store shopping can be a great way to save money, however, it can be difficult because you will be trying things on of all different brands, even if they are the same "sizes." Bring someone supportive with you and take on one situation at a time, starting with what you think you can handle. No matter what, keep your affirmations and remember you are beautiful and healthy, and no tag or size can define you.
Spring is a great time to refresh and add variety to your diet, especially if you've been in a winter rut. Farmer's markets will be opening offering fresh from the farm produce and other homemade goodies, as well as beautiful bouquets of flowers to brighten up your living space! Fruit stands are another great place to find good produce buys, and berry picking is both a fun activity that also provides you with a delicious bounty of berries to enjoy.
Last but not least, if you find a moment in the evening or morning where you can even write a simple sentence of what you are thankful for, research has shown that your cognitive pathways actually begin to change. And, for the start of the new season, here are two short passages that are particularly helpful.
INSIDE AND OUT
What happens on the outside matters. Yet the way you choose to be on the inside, matters much, much more.
Outside factors do indeed make life challenging. Yet the inside factors are what allow those challenges on the outside to hold you back, or enable them to push you forward.
You can change the outside world for the better. To do so, you must continually keep a positive orientation on the inside.
What you think about life determines what you're able to do with your life. The way you feel about life sets the stage for the way you actually live the moments of each day.
Sure, it might go against your intuition to be up when the world seems to be pulling you down. However, you most certainly can do it, and when you do, you can quickly change things for the better.
Make it your intention to be strong, positive, purposeful, compassionate, curious and creative on the inside. And you cannot help but make a significant and beautiful difference in the world around you.
YOU CAN IF YOU THINK YOU CAN
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win, but you think you can't,
it is almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost.
For out in the world we find
success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclasses, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win to a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
- C.W. Longenecker