I just can’t seem to want to take care of myself all the time. It’s just easier to not think about whether or not I’m hungry, so if I’m stressed, or particularly tired, or angry at the world, that’s what I do. Things are fine when I care about myself, when I’m focused on listening to my body. But I can’t seem to stay in that frame of mind. I feel so good maybe Monday through Thursday, and things fall apart over the weekend and I binge eat and self-loathe. This seems to be a pattern for me; without the structure of school I often fall apart and fall deep into hating myself and deal with this by eating a lot. I hate going through these self-destructive phases every so often, but I can’t seem to break the cycle. How can I stay positive more consistently?
I’m so glad that you reached out for support. You ask “how can I stay positive more consistently?” and I will address that, but I’d like to break your question down a little bit because there are a few different things at play here:
- Despite the fact that you want to participate in self care rituals, you feel like often you just can’t when you are too tired to.
- Weekends are a huge trigger for you because of the vast amounts of unstructured time.
I’ll address the first part, which is you being angry at yourself because you are not consistent with the way you care for yourself. I think that it’s really easy to get caught up in the “shoulds” of recovery, “I should always be paying attention to my cues for hunger and satiety, I should never binge, I should always be on it…” etc. But the problem is, that recovery is not perfect, and sometimes you just don’t feel strong enough to do the things that you need to do to recover. And that is okay. In those moments, the most important thing that you can do for yourself is be kind, not beat yourself up and forgive yourself, because that is what recovery is about- learning compassion and kindness for self. So when you are tired, stressed and angry at the world, you might ask yourself, “what can I do right now? what do I have the strength for?” perhaps you have the strength to sit back and relax and watch a TV show that will change your focus, perhaps you can call an inspirational friend, and perhaps you don’t have the strength for anything. If you can’t do anything, that’s okay. In that moment you can just acknowledge it and forgive yourself. Self love and self directed kindness is a way to be more positive more often. When you are kind to yourself you feel better. And when you feel better you become stronger and your recovery becomes stronger.
Weekends are an extremely difficult time for many people in recovery because of how open it is. I am of the mind that planning ahead is the easiest way to bypass a binge. Since you know that weekends are your trigger, it might be a good idea for you to write out a loose plan on Thursday evenings of what your weekend is going to look like, what activities you have planned and also to plan your meals. You can also try to make sure that you have lots of activities with good friends to keep you busy. Connection is the opposite of isolation and eating disorders thrive in isolation. If you need to study over the weekend, plan study dates and always get out of your space and go to a library to study. Make sure that you schedule in lunch breaks with actual time parameters around them. Such as: 10am-11- work on x project 11:00-12:30- work on x 12:30-1:30 lunch. 1:30-4pm – work on x project. Planning in this way will help you to feel more structured and less antsy/bingey.
I hope that this was helpful and Thank you for your question.