It’s the Most Emotional Time of the Year

It’s that time of year again! Do y’all ever feel that the last week of the year holds a lot of emotion? Thinking about the past year and the one just around the corner, I’m getting a bit overwhelmed.

 

2017 was definitely a rough one for the world. Personally, it was fantastic, awful, life-changing, upsetting, and enlightening. I lost a couple of loved ones, but I’ve also come into beautiful friendships. The beginning of the year was one of stability and comfort. That has slowly shifted as the countdown gets closer to a looming life change. Stressors, new experiences, and quite a bit of self-exploration is what I’ll be waving goodbye to in a few days.

 

As someone who fixates on the concept of time, I feel a storm brewing in my future. I know that between today and the end of June there’s going to be a major life change. I’m finishing my Master’s degree, my lease is up at the end of June, and I’m looking for a job. Living situations have been temporary for me every year since I started college in 2011. Let’s just say I’m VERY ready to settle down a bit.

 

There’s something hopeful and terrifying about a new year. As an eternal optimist, I look to 2018 as a year of positive change and new adventure. As a necessary realist, I see a lot of stress in my future. Either way I’m excited to take on what comes.

 

To end this slightly rambling post, I want to wish everyone a happy new year. I hope you experience adventures, grow in yourself, and remember to keep it super simple.

 

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The Battle of the Slice

Eating pizza in public has become my new Everest. As someone on the road to recovery from an eating disorder, eating pizza has become an emotional rollercoaster of an experience. I write this as I sit in my favorite pizza place, listening to classic rock and trying to fight the voices in my head as the lunch rush hits full swing.

For those who have never dealt with an eating disorder, it’s a bitch. Every meal becomes a test. Am I getting better? Am I getting worse? I’ve suffered from binge eating disorder for over 3 years now but I don’t think I’ve ever had a healthy relationship with food.

Right now I’m forcing myself to sit in a booth and slowly eat my biggest trigger food. Pizza. That’s right, pizza. Chewy crust, melted cheese, the works. It breaks all my food rules and has become my go-to binge food.

This morning I met with one of the doctors I’m seeing while I work through recovery and she praised the baby steps I was making. But, I’m impatient. I want results now. I want to be better now. Recovery isn’t going to happen NOW though.

So I’m taking another baby step. Okay, this is actually a huge baby step. I’m sitting in public eating six wings and two huge slices of cheese pizza. I’m forcing myself to take my time and focus on my food. I’m trying not to binge. Keyword: TRYING. It’s so hard to not give in. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to not give in to the negative thoughts, force the food down my throat and then make my self leave shrouded in embarrassment and shame. FOR EATING PIZZA!

I’m proud of myself though. It wasn’t a perfect experiment, but I’ve been here for 45 minutes when before it would have been 15 minutes. I paused a few times throughout my meal and checked to see where my hunger was at that moment. I’m a little uncomfortably full, but that’s to be expected putting myself in my worse-case-scenario binge position.

I’m only three weeks into my structured recovery process. It’s been a hell of a three weeks. I’ve cried approximately three times this week alone with overwhelming emotions of relief of working on myself to sadness and frustration of officially acknowledging I have an eating disorder. Not eating issues. Not an unhealthy relationship with food. An actual eating disorder.

I can feel my emotions going multiple directions and I know that I have YEARS to go for a full recovery. Right now though, I have baby steps and pizza.

Practicing Radical Self-Care

How many times in the past week have you stopped and realized your muscles were tensed? Have you found yourself drowning in work? Do you avoid work just for a moment of relaxation, just to realize you can’t seem to find it? You need some radical self-care in your life.

These past two weeks have been rough for me. I’m in the beginning of structured eating disorder recovery. My dog passed away last week. My other dog almost drowned. I’ve been avoiding work and causing for my stress level to skyrocket, which makes me want to avoid work even more. And, ironically, I moderated a class today on body positivity and self-care.

It’s time to practice what I preach.

I write this post as I sit in a coffee shop sipping tea and letting my muscles slowly release and relax. I’m doing this because I gave myself back spasms last week and had to get a shot in the ass because of them. So I’m now chilling the hell out.

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For me this means taking time to focus. Focus on what my body needs. What my mind needs. What my emotions need. My body needs more movement and more relaxation. My mind needs one or two goals a day to complete. My emotions need to be validated, acknowledged, and released.

Self-care is easy to talk about but hard to do. With our current societal standards in the U.S. constantly pushing for results, finished to-do-lists, and innovative ideas, we feel guilty if we focus on ourselves. We are deemed selfish, self-absorbed, and lazy. All of these are bullshit.

To use the classic simile, the body is like a machine. If you never restart a machine, if you never fuel it, and if you never give it preventative maintenance, it’s going to shut down. Self-care is preventative maintenance. It’s saying, “I respect my body and my well-being and I’m taking time for me.”

Self-care for me always feels like a chore at first. You’re telling me I have to take an hour and purposefully not get work done? Yes. Yes I am.

Take a bath. Drink a cup of tea outside. Go for a leisurely walk. Stretch your body. Read a good book. Write a blog post. Do something that releases your tension. Feel your face muscles smooth and your eyelids get a little heavy. Breathe. Breathe deeply.

Radical self-care isn’t new. As we get older and take on more in life, it is essential we always go back to ourselves and make time for selfishness.