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10 Ways to Prepare for Eating Disorder Recovery

10 ways to prepare for eating disorder recovery, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com

Eating Disorders are difficult to recover from because they’re characterized by disturbed eating habits and rituals, that are consistently repeated, resulting in habitual behaviour. Trying to break this pattern may be complicated due to food being apart of everyday life and a source of nutrition; being unavoidable. We are constantly exposed to foods that we may not be comfortable around or feel are safe to consume, and we may struggle with breaking habits and routine.

Everyday is a challenge, but with these steps forward, we may see an end to our eating disorder.


 

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Admit to the Problem. There will never be an end to the problem if we cannot admit it. It begins with ourselves, followed by our closest friends and family, and finally, the professionals. We should expect tears and hard times from this confession, but must remember that this is the start of something new. Be prepared for it to be an excruciating experience, with an outstandingly beautiful outcome.

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Seek Professional Help and Build a Support System. During this difficult time, you will need the encouragement and love of the people that mean the most to you, and the professionals that have been educated on your disorder along with the recovery methods. These people will able to aid the construction of  your safety plan, make lists of friends to communicate with and map out coping mechanisms to remain on the recovery path.

Professionals will be able to help with your next steps, whether that be group therapy, eating disorder clinics, meal plans, one-on-one therapy sessions or other options. Try to remain open-minded because, these people are only there to help you.

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Don’t Try to Physically Prove Your Eating Disorder. The recovery process can prove difficult when you feel your body mass does not reflect your eating disorder. It is important to recall that your body weight is not the sole evidence or validity of an eating disorder. They are mental illnesses, characterized by a perception of self and food, and not the gap between ones’ thighs.

Do not try to conform your disorder and recovery to that of someone else. Every person is unique, along with their respective disorder, and you should not be trying to emulate anyone else. The focus is you and your recovery; not that of a popular Instagram star.

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Be Uncomfortable. Put yourself in situations that you never wanted to face. Go out to that fast food joint with your friends like you’ve been wishing to visit for years; eat in public; let yourself eat “unsafe” foods. This process is about breaking rituals and routines, and to do so, you have to go places and do things out of routine or your comfort zone.

Be logical. Do not expect yourself to eat a burger, fries and drink non-diet soda in your first outing, as it may be overwhelming and throw off your recovery. Take baby steps whilst continuing to progress. Go at your pace.

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Don’t Hide Any Feelings from Your Supports. If you are struggling to eat a meal, and your friend confronts you, don’t pretend your refusal is from a tummy ache. Be upfront and tell them that this specific meal is very hard for you, and that you will need time and patience to conquer it.

When you feel upset about your body, or sense a relapse occurring, speak up. Voice your feelings of lack of control and be honest regarding the trigger. Keep open communication and always be honest.

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Be Strict with Your Boundaries. Do not let someone disturbed drag you back into your disordered eating habits. There are people who will want to discourage you, act as if you look healthy and don’t need recovery, but they are wrong (according to you, your loved ones and medical professionals). If they are a disturbance to your recovery, you need to cut them out and no longer give them the time of day.

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Don’t Let Yourself Skip Out on Important Appointments. It doesn’t matter if there’s a concert or a cool party, you cannot skip out on important therapy sessions and clinic dates. You will be diservicing yourself, and nobody wants you to do that.

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Relapse Is Practically Inevitable. Be rational and expect there to be difficult times, relapses and feelings of regret regarding confession, but you must remember that you do not want to live like this anymore. Your eating disorder was never a friend or a healthy process, and it wants to destroy you. The best thing you can do for yourself is fight it.

Ride the relapse thoughts and behaviours, challenging it at every chance you get. Do not let yourself spiral. Keep your recovery in control, and consistently remind yourself the reasons you chose recovery.

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Loving Your Body Will Not Be An Everyday Occurrence. Some days, you will look in the mirror, proud of the weight you’ve gained and the way it looks on your frame, and other days, it will be your biggest nightmare. Understand that those negative feelings regarding your body are fueled by the eating disorder, and not a healthy mind. Your body is beautiful, it’s healthy and it’s on its way to recovery.

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You Are Not in a Race; Pace Yourself. Do not let yourself be affected by the hoards of others in recovery. They are not you, their experiences and feelings are different, and their recovery will reflect this diversity. You cannot expect yourself to attain a goal made for someone else. This recovery is yours, and yours alone. It is not a competition, it is not a race; it is your life.


You cannot expect perfection in a process like this. Be reasonable, be understanding of your limitations and goals, and don’t give up for anybody or anything.

Remember; you will recover and this eating disorder will be history.

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Eating Disorder Clinic Anxiety

It has been very clear through my lack of posts that something is occupying me.

I can’t really get my thoughts down on any topic because, I have this constant presence in my mind telling me I’m not sick enough for this eating disorder program I signed up for 9 months ago.

Since then, I have put back on the weight that I lost, but it doesn’t change the mindset. I am so convinced that I will be turned away and, that I will spiral out of control for them to listen to me.

Since the age of 14, I’ve been struggling with an eating disorder, but my body weight didn’t always reflect this. I would be bedroom/bathroom/gym bound, refusing meal after meal, and struggling after every piece of food I ate. The summer going into 10th grade, I rollerbladed every day, sometimes several times a day, in the hot July sun, trying to reach a weight that I deemed beautiful for my new school. I was barely eating that whole summer, and making up for the food I refused in deep cuts all over my body.

I’ve been trying to fight this competitive voice in my head that keeps telling me to starve like crazy until my appointment, but I’ve tried not to, and have been successful thus far. But, with a week to spare until I sit in that appointment and finally confess years of self-destruction, I find myself more disappointed in my body than ever.

I can’t help but feel disappointed in my decision to fight the eating disorder until then. I’ve told myself repeatedly that they will only believe me if my body is proof. My boyfriend tried to discourage this thought process, and it’s worked. I don’t feel any better, though.

I am truly scared that they will look me up and down, and say “Go home!”

Living in a new home with a new group of people whom I’ve told my issues to, makes me feel I should starve more than I do. I’ve been doing well in keeping myself fed and healthy, though I’m a few pounds short of what my doctor wanted me to be. I get worked up by telling myself they think I’m faking it and that I should prove my disorder, somehow.

I’m conflicted in this instant. I am not having a good day. My thoughts are scattered and I don’t think I even got a portion of them down in this post.

I will try to be more present. If not here, on my social media (Facebooktwitter, Instagram).

I apologize for the hiatus.

 

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Disability Income Misconceptions

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Welfare and Disability seem to be taboo terms. There is no way of bringing it up into conversation without a stigmatized comment being proclaimed. Someone always has something to say about their preconceived notions of these income support cheques. Whether they don’t understand the reasoning or they choose not to, it doesn’t mean their opinion is fact. They may not know someone personally who is deemed disabled by the government, but these misconceptions and myths need to be debunked.


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You’re lazy. The general public sees this form of income as a way of cheating society and laying around doing nothing, without taking into consideration the reason someone may need to rely on these programs. When it comes to disability, despite some of us not being employed, the majority of us are not trying to abuse the system or sit down and let the money roll in; we understand what we’ve been given in respect to our disability.

A disabled person does not find happiness or glee in being couch-bound for days on end. We do not feel pride in the need to have government support. We do not want to flaunt our inability to work; we just strive to survive as comfortably as we can and obtain the services we need to hopefully, one day, not be considered disabled (if possible).

There are days that we cannot get up or function, especially when mentally ill. We spend our days trying to get by; survival is our biggest feat. We are in constant pain and turmoil, but we have drive and ambition, like the rest of humanity. Many of us are creative and productive folk; trying to contribute in our personal methods.

If a constant battle with ourselves is translated into laziness, we are not the problem. Not to mention, nobody would want to trade a few shifts a week for daily torture and self-doubt.

If we could work, we would. We want to be able to function along with society, but we can’t, and we need help. And honestly, that’s okay. There’s help for a reason.

You don’t deserve it. If we didn’t deserve it, and there wasn’t a reason for us to receive this money, we wouldn’t have been accepted in the disability support programs. Obviously, there is someone out there in these companies that believes our problems are valid, and affect our ability to be employed. Your opinion regarding our personal lives and income is none of our business.

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You can’t work. This is ultimately false, and is a statement some of us on disability may also believe true. Depending on the program or where you live/receive your income from, we are able to work. In Ontario, Canada, Ontario Disability Support Program allows its clients to work as much as they please, with acceptable deductions. Up to 2oo$ will go untouched, the rest will be divided in half, and you will be awarded 100$ for working.

Being on disability or welfare does not mean you can’t work; it means you need support to survive, and may not be able to work as often or frequently as someone who does not have a physical or mental illness. That being said, some people on disability cannot work at all, whilst some may work a 40 hour work week.

Only the physically disabled should have access. It would not be incorrect to state that the majority of people who believe this may also believe that mental illness is made up and inherently false. Mental illness can affect you as dangerously as physical illness, and cannot be compared on the same wave length. A mental illness, such as depression or schizophrenia, can be deadly and drive someone to commit suicide, or cause psychotic symptoms that cause danger to the individual and others.

Physical disability is as valid as mental disability, and cannot be swept under the rug for its physical nonappearance to the naked eye.

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You’re abusing the government and tax payers. No. There are reasons why these programs were put into place; the public needs the service. The government wouldn’t implement such a program for people when they don’t need it, just to lose money.

Tax is divided in the regions that need it; health care, education, construction, companies, etc. Disability income support happens to be one of those sections. Your taxes are going in various places, and even if you don’t agree with where they go, it is for the government to decide. As long as they deem the service is needed, it will continue to be funded and available to those who need it.

You can trick the system. To think that you can abuse a system that has been developing over years is ridiculous. When we apply for disability, it is a lengthy process. They look into your assets, your living arrangements, your past employment and have access to any records they need. You cannot complete the application without signing that consent, and it can only be assumed that revoking consent would revoke your income.


Being on disability does not define someone or throw them into a category, and to believe someone is something based on how they survive is ignorance.

We cannot remove stigma or teach those who do not want to be taught, but we can continue to try and reduce stigma in the best ways we know.

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Bell Let’s Talk – What Is It? Why Is It Important?

what is bell let's talk? Why is it important? #bellletstalk www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Bell Let’s Talk is an annual event and campaign that began in September, 2010, that Bell started to try to raise awareness about mental illness, reduce stigma and encourage people to talk about mental illness. For every use of their hashtag on specific social media platforms, making phone calls and texting, or other interactions, they will donate 5¢  to fund mental illness research and services in the country of Canada. Bell is the largest company to step in, speak out about mental illness and create a movement for the community.

In 2015, they increased their campaign to 2020, where they commit to donating up to 10 million dollars in regards to mental illness. On January 27, 2016, Bell donated over 6 million dollars based on the near 126 million long distance and mobile phone calls, texts, tweets and Facebook shares. Currently, Bell’s total donations stand at 79,919,178.55$ as of 2016.

Hopefully, this year, we can exponentially increase the funding, have open discussions about mental illness, and end the stigma.


How can you help this year?

All day, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every:
• Text message sent by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Mobile and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk
• View of the official Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook
• Snap using the official Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter

(Join the event on Facebook: Bell Let’s Talk Day Event)


Why is this such a phenomenal movement?

Mental illness has always had a stigma cloud that followed it, where people aren’t entirely understanding or compassionate towards others because of their illnesses. It is often a topic for jokes and put downs, where the joke is at someone’s emotional expense. Though the stigma has reduced over the years, thanks to Bell Let’s Talk and other mental health movements, it isn’t gone. People with mental illness are still being degraded, disrespected, turned away by doctors, deemed unworthy of medical attention and completely ignored by the public.

When the conversation is closed, people bottle up their emotions and feel that their feelings are not valid. The further this happens, the more individuals isolate themselves and feel embarrassed to open up, the more suicides continue to happen. No one truly wants to die; they are hoping their pain will stop.

The majority of society acts as if mental illness isn’t a part of their everyday life, when 1 in 5 Canadians struggles with some form of mental illness. These people are in your life, in your schools, at your work, on the streets, in hospitals, in your home, in your family, in your social groups… They are your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your aunts, your uncles, your friends, your enemies, your acquaintances, strangers… They are everywhere, living normal lives, with not so normal symptoms. Mental illness is THAT common.

A large majority assumes that the mentally ill can only be categorized by schizophrenics, psychotics, and those with bipolar. Those conditions are very hard to live with, accompanied by delusions, voices and uncontrollable emotional levels (and should not be stigmatized), but are not the only ones. Mental illness is much more. It’s depression, anxiety, personality disorders, variations of eating disorders, variations of body-focused repetitive behaviours, and many other, rather uncommon categorizations. It is possible that you may have a mental illness without being aware of it. Mental illness does not make you “crazy” or “psycho”.

It’s time that we, as a society, open up the conversation for mental health, learn about the different conditions and how they affect people, and urge to reduce the stigma in our everyday lives.

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Understanding Self Harm; What Is It?

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Self-harm is the act of self-mutilation, where an individual purposefully harms themselves in hopes to alleviate stress, emotional pain, trauma, depressive feelings or find control. A large number of self-harmers are approaching or are in adolescence; using these methods to cope with new emotions, mental illnesses and overwhelming situations, though many are adults or progress into adulthood with these maladaptive coping skills. Some self-harm for short periods of time or in crisis, whilst others may become fully addicted or may not know that they are self-harming because the method isn’t widely known.

Self-mutilation is not a suicide attempt; it is a maladaptive coping strategy to find control in out-of-control situations and can be replaced by healthy ones. The individual self-harming is struggling and needs professional help. They may use a combination of self-harming methods.


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Cutting. Cutting is the most well-known self-harming coping mechanism and has been widespread on the internet over the last few years. It is the most heard of the bunch.

Most adolescents turn to cutting to cope with dysfunctional families, bullying, trauma, schooling and overwhelming feelings, though adults do also partake in this method. The act of cutting releases endorphins to the brain to deal with the emotional and physical pain, giving the cutter a high. It’s an exciting rush, followed by a sense of relief from what’s bothering them.

Cutting is often assumed as suicidal behaviour when, in actuality, it’s a very common way people cope with issues. The blood and mutilation factor frightens caregivers who feel they may have to bring their child to the hospital for an attempt, which is not a necessity.

It is important that, if the cutter chooses to continue, they use clean materials and clean their wounds to avoid infection and STD transmittal (as it can be deadly). They must monitor themselves; if they cut too deep, they need to request medical attention, as an excessive loss of blood can kill them.

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Burning. Burning is frequently used in combination with cutting. The individual takes a hot object and holds it to their skin until it cools down and a wound is formed. Some may use hot baths or tap water instead, which may not leave a mark, but is as serious. These burn wounds may bubble up and “pop”, oozing a liquid; it is important for the person self-harming to monitor this wound and ensure bacteria doesn’t contaminate.

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Scratching/Pinching. Someone may choose to scratch at their skin until blood surfaces for a quick sense of relief. This could be an occasional thing, develop into dermatillomania or be dermatillomania.

Dermatillomania (Excoriation Disorder or Skin Picking Disorder) is when the individual has an incessant need to scratch and pick at “imperfections” resulting in worsened bumps, wounds, acne or infection. This disorder can be combated through therapy and extreme efforts, but is not always noticed by the one doing it.

There is a difference between choosing to do it, and having a disorder. Someone with dermatillomania will scratch or pick during anxious or tense situations, but may not notice, while someone who is picking occasionally is constantly doing it on purpose. It must be monitored as the occasional behaviour can evolve into a disorder as they grow unaware of their actions, and lean on picking to cope. It becomes second nature.

Wound Interference. This ties in with dermatillomania and skin picking. The individual repeatedly picks at scabs which result in either blood or scars.

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Hair Pulling. Hair pulling is because of a disorder called trichotillomania; a compulsive desire to pull out ones hair. The puller may notice bald patches from continuous pulling, self-esteem issues, and hair follicle changes (hairs growing in curly, thin or odd colours). Constantly pulling out one’s hair can increase anxiety, and affect their confidence, usually accompanied by depression. They may find flaws in specific hairs and feel that they do not belong, resulting in pulling it out.

Trich falls under the same umbrella as dermatillomania, (Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviour/BFRB) and is not always intentional. With over exposure to pulling, they become dependent on it and may not notice themselves acting out, and can be so severe that they pull in their sleep.

Photo: © Europen Parliament/P.Naj-Oleari
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Drugs/Alcohol. Substance abuse starts off as using drugs and alcohol to cope. Someone may reach for a bottle when they are upset to “lose themselves”. With repetitive use, they will become heavily addicted and full-fledged alcoholics or drug addicts.

Their body will be tolerant of the substance and require higher doses for the same effect, develop a psychological and physical dependency where they may not be able to function without it as their body and mind experience withdrawal, and addiction. Addiction is the compulsive need for the substance and effort required to avoid or reduce usage.

Depending on the substance, risks include:

  • STDs from needles and injectors
  • Irregular heart rate or heart failure
  • Infertility
  • Lung damage
  • Memory loss
  • Periods of psychosis and disconnection from self
  • Seizures
  • Organ failure
  • Irritability, anxiety, jumpiness, sweating and shaking
  • Violence
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

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Hitting. Hitting involves violence towards oneself, where the individual hits and punches themselves for relief. This can result in bruises and painful areas.

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Disordered Eating Behaviours. Disordered eating is a common gateway to eating disorders. They feel they have lost control when it comes to food or their body, finding flaws in their figure or eating patterns. There are heavy influences in media and they could turn to Pro Anorexia Websites for tips on weight loss. Disordered eating can be controlled and restrictive (anorexia), strictly healthy foods only (othorexia), use of laxatives and vomiting after binging (bulimia), over eating (binge eating) and other, personalized methods.

This behaviour must be heavily monitored as a traumatic change in diet can remove years off their life, become extreme with no way back or fatal. They must seek out medical attention and learn not to use food to cope. The recovery process is not short and may take years; it’s best to catch and treat it early.


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“Suicide Attempts” (Testing the Grounds). These types of suicidal behaviours are parasuicidal, meaning it is suicidal in its nature, but suicide wasn’t the intent. This is very common with individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder as they experience chronic suicidal feelings and use this to cope. They do not wish to die, but to control an out-of-control situation. Facing death but not dying can be satisfying to some.


Remember: Self-harm is used to gain control in out-of-control situations. It isn’t use to get back at or punish anybody.

Self-mutilation should be avoided, discouraged and discussed in therapy. Overcoming self-harm will take time, but can be done when trauma, pain and other factors are discussed, and healthier coping mechanisms are implemented. When an urge arises, they should consider journaling, going for a walk, drawing, calling a friend, etc. Constant denial to these urges will improve their quality of life, as they ween off of their need.

Relapse is inevitable, but self-mutilation can be conquered.

If you are a worried guardian or friend, do not demean them. It may not seem logical to you, but it is necessary you open the conversation, lend an ear once in a while, and tell them that it is acceptable to talk about self-harm. If you use it against them, they will lean on the behaviour more, and could hurt themselves further. Don’t overreact, don’t under react. Finding a balance can be complicated, but worth it. They are dealing with a serious problem and need your support.

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11 Ways to Maintain Employment with Mental Illness

11 ways to maintain employment with mental illness, www.slothspedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery, recovery

Balancing the world of employment with our never ending mental illness is a feat to conquer. Many of us have been fired or have had to quit because of our illness; whether we landed in hospital, had a suicide attempt, or just plain burned out. We have to apply techniques to keep our motors going and complete a hard days work.

It will never be easy, but it can be done when we apply these 10 simple techniques.


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Notes. Mental illness can take the better of us and sometimes, our memory goes with our health. To keep on top of our work, it is beneficial to take notes of all the important information or procedures you need to follow. On shift, bring the notebook with you to refer to it and take notes. Use colours, stickers, drawings or tabs; anything to have it appealing and stimulating for you.

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Honesty. Try to keep open communication with your employer. You don’t need to disclose your diagnosis or provide any information you aren’t comfortable with sharing, but you can state that you have medical issues with appointments. If you have scars and are comfortable with showing them, tell them in advance and proceed to wearing short sleeves. It will be important for your employer to be aware of your need for medical attention (whether you state mental or physical is your choice) and dates or appointments, as they can try to be understanding and accommodate accordingly.

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Allow Mistakes. We disservice ourselves by not allowing mistakes, and when we make them, we crash and burn. A mistake is not a portrayal of your character and it does not invalidate your capability as an employee or human being. You cannot beat yourself up over mistakes, because everybody makes them. They’re natural and are a part of the learning experience. Floors and counters can be cleaned, orders and items can be returned and people are understanding. Let them happen, and have fun with them.

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Consistent Therapy. Attending therapy consistently will help you regulate emotions and anxieties, especially around the job itself. It will be useful to have that third party available to brainstorm ways to improve your work environment and performance. Any troubles that may be weighing you down at work could also be alleviated through talking.

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Self-Care. It is important to put yourself first. Do you need a coffee or tea to calm down before work? Bring a mug. Are your feet sore? Take a warm bubble bath. Is your brain on overdrive? Watch a corny comedy. The smallest actions can keep you relaxed before work, and reward you after work. 

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Goals. Human beings are goal oriented creatures; we thrive on success. The smaller the goal, the quicker we achieve, the happier we will be. Set daily goals that are easy to achieve, like attaining hygiene, eating well, and arriving at work 10 minutes early. These goals, especially accomplished before a shift, can help the shift go smoother. It will boost confidence and production level.

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One Task At A Time. Mental illness can throw us in overdrive, hoping from one task to the next without thought. We forget our previous task and leave a mess for someone else to clean up. If you were working in a restaurant, for example, and you were cleaning tables as someone walked in; don’t drop the rag. Finish the task as it is a short one, tell the customer that you will be with them and possibly crack a joke to amuse them during the short wait. There are priorities in the workplace, but tasks that are short can come first. If you are doing inventory though, do not leave the customer waiting until you are done. Prioritize, and take it one step at a time.

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Work From Home. If the social aspect of the workplace is weighing you down, opt for working from home. There are many jobs available through online companies where do not need to interact with people face to face or through phone calls. You could try market research, customer service through emails or even freelance transcriptions.

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Self-Employment. Why not try to be your own boss and start up something new and exciting? Self-employment allows you to be in charge and open up a business for yourself, on your own terms. Photography, writing, art, business; the world is yours. The issue with self-employment is that it does take time and money before ever making a dollar; it is a slow process with no guarantees. It can start exciting, and end with you feeling drained and exhausted. The trick with self-employment is learning business, marketing, discipline and persistence. You will have to work another job until any income can be made.

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It’s Not The Be All, End All. Don’t depend your life success on this one job. It is likely that this will not be your last job, and that if you do get fired or need to quit, it wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t the job or career choice for you. If you lose employment, try to get back up and start looking again. You are capable, you are valid for employment and you have value to a company out there.

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Recovery. The best way to maintain employment is to commit to recovery. Recovery will build up your confidence, help break bad coping habits and teach you self-understanding. It is an all around the clock job itself, but will be rewarding if you commit to it. You will inevitably see improvement in your workplace, yourself and your happiness.


Ultimately, your highest levels of success will come from doing a job you love, but if that isn’t an option, you have to stay persistent and take care of yourself.

Someone with mental illness can be successful in the workplace. You have to believe in yourself, build your confidence and focus on maintenance. Be the best that you can be.

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Holiday Self-Care

holiday self-care, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com

The holiday season is often a stressful time for a majority of people; there’s gifts to buy, plans to make, food to prepare, etc. Sometimes, people have to face the holidays with one less relative, which is never easy. For the mentally ill, this time of year is all the more stressful. 

For those struggling with anxiety, they have to try to communicate with a cluster of people whilst avoiding panic attacks. Eating disorders; they have to figure out routines and be faced with many challenge foods they may not be ready to take. Depression; they have to try to seem jolly for their relatives to avoid being a “bummer”. BFRBs; they have to try to conceal bald patches, scabs and behaviours they may not have control over yet. Self harm; they have to try to control the urges around the cluster of people. Borderline Personality Disorder; they have to try to remain in control when things are out of control and hectic.

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Self-care is the best way to keep things under control at such a stressful time. You can consider your relatives, family and friends, but you can’t be fully you when your mental illness is pushing down on you. It’s important to identify when you need time for yourself; to pamper yourself, so that you can return to the festivities happily.


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Baths. Bubble baths are always great to destress. They’re great for relaxing muscles, which can tense up when things are overwhelming, and they give you time to think by yourself. You could put on some soft tunes, lay in a bed of bubbles and let everything go. It’s time for you. Why not pamper yourself with a face mask, a scrubbing and possibly a manicure? Take this time to loosen up, be with yourself and be positive. The world can wait.

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Yes, this is vegan.

Hot Chocolate. The holidays just don’t seem like the holidays without its signature drink; hot chocolate. It’s warm, frothy, delicious, and easy to make homemade and vegan (skip on the cayenne). Why not throw in some candy canes, top with vegan whipped cream and marshmallows for that extra holiday kick? Spoil yourself.

This kind of treat will definitely bring joy and self-soothe some of those holiday anxieties. It gives you time to enjoy flavour, spend time with friends, read a book or work on your computer. We all deserve to treat ourselves during the holidays, and this might give you that extra kick when you’re feeling the winter blues.

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Buy Yourself Something Nice. If you’re alone this time of year, it can be overwhelming to watch everyone make plans with their families and have gifts to share. In a time where everyone is spoiling one another, you can’t forget yourself. You deserve holiday gifts and joy as well, whether someone has some lined up for you or not. Go to the store, buy something that you’ve been wanting for a long time and enjoy it!

Thinking about what YOU want rather than what others want could be just the thing to make you happy. With mental illness, we often think about everyone else, and how they feel about our conditions and the repercussions we cause them. So, drop everyone else for a minute, and put yourself first. Your health, feelings and happiness is important.

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Decorate. Decorating and admiring the work you’ve done can feel rewarding and welcoming. It really brings the season to life and can lift your mood. Bright lights, glitter and old time classical songs are just the thing to calm you down and take away your blues.

People doing a puzzle

Puzzles and Colouring. Activities like these give you enough time to put your life on hold, evaluate your feelings and think about what to do next. For 10 minutes, you can focus, distract your mind and do something for yourself. Not to mention, seeing a completed piece you made can be fulfilling. This is a great coping mechanism to replace self-harm.

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Talk to a Friend. Our families don’t always understand us and can be insensitive; bringing in an outside party could benefit you and bring peace. Our friends are aware of our struggles and won’t judge; they can provide advice and company when we need it most. Good company can be the solution to many issues.


Here are some other ideas.

Stressed?

  • Read a book
  • Pet an animal
  • Go for a walk
  • Sing/Play and instrument
  • Write

Anxious?

  • Deep breathing
  • Touching different textures
  • Listen to soft music
  • Change rooms/environments
  • Put on comfy pyjamas

Angry?

  • Journal
  • Call a friend
  • Scribble harshly with pens
  • Yell into a pillow
  • Play a video game

Sad/Depressed?

  • Join people
  • Make yourself a hot drink
  • Read (forums, newspapers, books, etc)
  • Take a quick nap
  • Play with your hair

Wichtelpärchen zugeschneit

Everyone should enjoy this holiday season, mentally ill or not. We have to focus on the signs of stressors or spirals and try to combat them with healthy coping mechanisms. It can be a fun time, if we allow it to and work on moving forward.

Take care of yourself.