For those struggling with restrictive eating and compulsive exercise, Valentine’s day can be an emotionally difficult holiday. While it may be easy for your friends or family to appreciate themselves on this day by indulging in a fancy dinner or prioritizing self care, it can be challenging for someone who feels alone and struggles with negative self talk embrace a holiday all about love. Despite these challenges, here are ways you can support your treatment and recovery from disordered eating on Valentine’s day.
- Write yourself a love note. Instead of focusing on your relationships with others, I encourage you to reflect on positive reasons for developing a healthy relationship with food and exercise on this day. Most importantly, aim to write about why respecting your body with nourishing food can help you achieve your long-term recovery-oriented goals.
- Create a Valentine’s day coping plan. If you have previously felt anxious at work or school during holidays such as Valentine’s day, creating a coping plan can help alleviate some of the stress associated with these days. By brainstorming with your dietitian, therapist, or any other trusted healthcare provider on your treatment team, you can identify supporting individuals or healthy coping strategies to prepare yourself before triggering situations develop. Whether that includes positive statements to tell yourself in the moment or breathing strategies to help alleviate overwhelming thoughts, try to reflect on coping strategies have previously worked for you when developing your plan.
- Use this day as motivation for self care. An important aspect to healing your relationship with your body, food, and exercise is prioritizing positive self-care. This Valentine’s day, use the holiday to preemptively plan a unique self-care activity that helps you cope, positivity influences your mood, or helps you relax. Some ideas include planning a trip you’ve always wanted to go on, spending time with friends or family doing something that you enjoy, or carving time out of your schedule to meditate and relax on your own.
Lastly, any holiday can present uncomfortable situations for those struggling with restrictive eating and compulsive exercise tendencies. In spite of these challenges, holidays provide a great platform to work on flexibility and consistency in relation to your pattern of eating and exercise. Use this day to help introduce recovery-oriented behaviors into your lifestyle, and always remember that you can reach out to support systems such as a trustworthy friend, family member, or member of your treatment team if challenges arise.
We wish you all a great Valentine’s Day! If you or someone you know is struggling with restrictive eating or compulsive exercise, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our services!