Valentine’s Day is more than chocolate, date night, roses and couples. This year, why not make the focus about loving yourself? Whether you are currently struggling with an eating disorder or if you have been in recovery for years, we’re sharing several ways to celebrate you this Valentine’s Day. Bonus: these practices are certain to bolster your recovery.
According to the ancient Greeks, there are eight different types of love that range from erotic love and enduring love to self-love and selfless love. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, many romantic couples celebrate “eros” (erotic love) or “pragma” (enduring love). However, love can be observed between family members, between friends and celebrated within yourself — especially important for those in recovery.
Focus on Self-Love
Think of Valentine’s Day as a way to celebrate “philautia” or self-love rather than just being a romantic holiday for couples. For those in eating disorder recovery, finding room on Valentine’s Day to practice self-love can be extremely beneficial to your mood. After all, eating disorders thrive on self-loathing.
Action item: Treat yourself. Buy flowers, relax with a book, cook a nice dinner and be grateful for the good things you’ve got going on in your life.
In with the Good; Out with the Bad
Make this year the year you allow only positive and uplifting people into your life. Eliminate all toxic thoughts, actions and individuals that currently surround you. It is just as important to remove the negative forces in life as it is to cherish the positive. Know that sometimes it can be challenging to know the difference.
Individuals with a history eating disorders may have a hard time discerning toxic relationships from mutual love. As a result, a toxic relationship to someone else may be completely normal to an individual who has undergone years of disordered eating.
Action Item: Critically scrutinize the relationships in your life to identify which ones are toxic and which ones are truly beneficial. This is one of the essential components to self-care. Since Valentine’s Day is centered on love and relationships, there is no better time to do some self-analyzing and to determine which relationships in your life are toxic and which ones are based on true love.
Be OK with Good Enough
Eating disorders go hand-in-hand with perfectionism. Many individuals with a history of eating disorders often set themselves up for failure if perfectionism cannot be attained. Learning to be “good enough” and not perfect means that we have to learn how to be comfortable in our skin even though we have faults. We do not compare ourselves to others, but we strive to do our best on an everyday basis. Some days we will have bad days or bad moments, and we must learn to accept that it is okay and to cherish the good days even more. This means that there is no room for self-condemnation. This behavior uses up our energy, drains us of motivation and keeps us stuck in the slip.
Action Item: Practice forgiving yourself for perceived “mistakes” and “flaws.” Pat yourself on the back when you help others, create something new or just let yourself relax!
Schedule in Your Self-Care
We as humans are creatures of habit. We gravitate towards what is familiar and tend to stay away from the unknown. Adopting healthy practices in our daily lives can change the way we think, feel and live. It all starts with one small self-care step at a time. This may be waking up an hour early to practice yoga, meditate or enjoy a cup of coffee in silence before we start our busy day.
Action Item: Giving yourself time each day to practice self-care can turn into a pattern and become a healthy lifestyle.
It’s All about You this Valentine’s Day
We have control over our attitudes, words, actions, choices and behaviors and although there will be certain things we cannot control, it is essential to make healthy decisions and turn them into daily habits.
Starting to love yourself in eating disorder recovery can begin with Valentine’s Day but should be an everyday practice. Giving yourself the respect and love you deserve daily will turn into a healthy habit if practiced continuously for three months, as many experts say a pattern is formed within this time frame. Your eating disorder recovery can benefit from giving yourself some self-love on this holiday and all year around.
If you’re struggling in recovery and are looking for support, please reach out to us today. We can discuss treatment options or help you find the support you need.
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