I’ve filled up five whole moleskin journals over the course of a year (that’s a lot of pages) with my thoughts, worries, goals, rants, whining, etc. It always surprises me how helpful writing for myself turns out to be. I sometimes get going and things I never realized or thought of in a certain way before just pop out on the page and I learn something important. I like to keep it low on the commitment level so that I don’t set myself up for feeling guilty or disappointed in myself-if I feel like writing, I do, if not, I don’t. I’ve found it helpful to have a journal in my bag that I carry and/or by my bed for those moments when you are in the mood. I’ve done several other things, too.
I’ve been to a meditation retreat for beginners to learn more about meditation as a technique for all sort of things, but more specifically, how to manage my anxiety and its influence on my eating habits. I was nervous before going, but often communities that practice, share and teach meditation (I found mindfulness meditation to be my favorite) tend to be really welcoming and friendly. At first it was very new to me, but since it is based on yourself and where you are at, you can take it at your own pace and make if your own practice…that’s why they call it a mediation practice. It was really helpful for teaching me the fundamentals of mediation and I am now able to translate it to my real, everyday life.
I’ve participated in a support group that met once a week. It was a demographic of women from the community nearby where I went to school that ranged in age. All of them were older than I was, but even so, it was a really valuable experience for me. Again, I was apprehensive about going the first time, but it felt so great to just be able to be open and talk about all this stuff with people who got it!
I’ve gotten out my art box and let myself make weird drawings and collages about some of the strong emotions I was feeling instead of eating and stuffing the feelings away. I like doing creative things as an outlet-making visual things with my hands. I remind myself that these are for no one else, just me and it can get quite fun, a little wacky and a good release. Really, just finding some kind of outlet that helps you can be really beneficial.
I’ve written letters to myself from my body and I have written letters back. This sounds a little kooky (I know), but it was kind of crazy how interesting it turned out to be. I kind of had to just let go of the fact that it was a little strange and once I did that I was surprised at what I ended up writing in each instance. Things along the lines of, “I’m really sorry I have been treating you this way. I know I can say terrible, terrible things to you, and I am working on that.”
I’ve sat on the floor of Barnes and Noble reading self-help books. There’s a lot of really great books out there. A lot of them we are going to be reading in our HealthyGirl.org book club!
I’ve taken public transportation over an hour away to attend my very favorite yoga class when I was feeling really icky about my body. Sometimes something that makes you feel really good after wards is worth the extra effort.
These are just examples of some of the things I did that looking back were really helpful to me. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will be exactly what you need (since we are all different), but perhaps some variation on the above will help, and you will never know until you try it. Sometimes taking the leap and trying something new can be really helpful.
Do you have any surprising ways that have helped you feel more at peace with this stuff? -Morgan