Sometimes you may feel as if you’re doing a terrible job of managing your life. You’ve just been dumped by your lover or lost your job, fight constantly with your parents/children/spouse/partner, and hate your body and the relationship you have with food. All you can think of is what mess your life is and so you make it worse by getting down on yourself which, of course, makes you feel more ashamed.
One way to reverse this spiral is to focus on excellent self-care which makes you proud. You don’t need to engage in some grand gesture like go to a spa for a week or run out and buy a new wardrobe. The point is to act in ways that you know are healthy and make you feel better. However, you must not only do these things, but urge yourself to feel proud that you did them. You can’t brush them off with “Well, I should have been doing this for years” or minimize their value with “Big deal, so I did one teensy thing that’s good for me.” You must take them seriously and recognize that, even in your funk, you can always, always take care of yourself.
Many dysregulated eaters think that when life gets better they’ll have the time or energy or motivation to care well for themselves. The opposite is true. Only when you take excellent care will life improve. Self-care doesn’t come from having the time or energy for it. It is a loving gift from you to you. It says I’m worth it, lovable and valuable all the time and I’m going to treat myself that way no matter what else is happening to me. Here are some things you can do and then spend a minute or two being proud of:
- Go grocery shopping and come home with a cart full of healthy, delicious foods.
- Take a walk, hit the gym, or dance around your living room til you work up a sweat.
- Clean one small space in your living quarters to your satisfaction.
- Do half of your to do list (you don’t need to do the whole thing to feel proud).
- Look at the mirror and gaze only at your best feature.
- Explore getting a volunteer job.
- Make your bed or do a load of laundry.
- Get a head start on doing your taxes by organizing your paid bills.
- Send a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a long time an email.
The point of these acts is to show yourself that you can get things done, that you are responsible, and that you have the power to behave in ways that make you proud. Sometimes when life seems crummy, you may forget that you have that power. In fact, you always have it whether you’re using it or not.