“Walk the walk.”
I continue to be reminded of this every day at work. It is rewarding and powerful to watch others take steps towards wellness, and it also serves as a way to continually re-examine your own life and stay accountable to yourself. A colleague of mine mentioned to me how she was in session with a client discussing self-care when her client turned to her and asked: “You say all of the right things, do you apply it in your own life?” This served as an important reminder for her, and it resonated fully with me when she shared it with me.
You have to practice what you preach. You need to walk the walk of recovery. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself. And if you find that you distance yourself from this, you will need to walk back towards it.
I think it can be easy to get caught up in the business of life, running down your list of “to-dos,” trying to meet external expectations and the ones you hold for yourself, switching onto auto-pilot mode and letting the days go by mindlessly. This can happen (and often does) even when you are happiest. It is easy to get distracted.
It is okay to pause and re-group. It is okay to take a break. If you are struggling, I think one of the most helpful things to remember is to recall a time when you were doing well, and remember how that felt. Recall what that looked like – what actions you were taking to ensure your wellness, what things were in place in your life that helped you generate that- and then see how you can re-create that in your current life.
It can be easy to continue on a negative cycle if you are not feeling well (and thus continue to engage in behaviors that in the moment may feel like the “easiest” option (i.e. “I don’t feel well so I won’t get out of bed today”), thus reinforcing negative feelings and thoughts and fueling the negative cycle even more.
This is when you need to stop in your tracks. This is when you need to make adjustments and reach out for support. You need people around you (always, not just if you are struggling) to remind you of what healthy looks like for you- how you present, what it feels like, what kinds of things you do when you feel well. Above all, you need to make the memory of that true for you.
Sometimes, the only thing we can hold onto is the knowledge that things can be better- and that they will, as long as we take care of ourselves and make proactive choices for our wellness. Eventually, if you walk the walk, this becomes true.
Walk the walk. You can think about recovery all you want for as long as you want to; but if you choose your eating disorder you will never give yourself the opportunity to even stand up and be able to continue that walk.
Choose recovery. Always. Choose it right now. If you find that you cannot do that at this moment, then you need to put things in place so that you are able to do that. What does this look like? Reaching out to a friend for some support? Going to treatment? Seeing your therapist? It can look many different ways. What matters (always, before anything) is that you choose recovery and that you continue choosing it always.
May you continue to walk in wellness always,