Updated: Mar 31
On the back foot of the last posts, and at the start of lent and this new moon (I need no excuse really) I reflected on what self care truly means.
My personal reality is that I am restoring weight. Restoring my body back to its own optimal health; physically, mentally, emotionally. I have restored weight in recovery before, and know I can do it again.
Whilst I know I can restore weight, I have done so without challenging many of these limiting beliefs around food. It has been controlled, it has fitted a carefully curated plan and has left me fed up, bored and exhausted. It left me still obsessing over food, with physical, mental and emotional discomfort and with very little, if not, no joy. There is no surprise that my enthusiasm flailed.
When writing down my food rules I have realised that they all make me question my deservingness; I then shy away from my instinct of wanting to try things, and of experiencing pleasure. So, I am going to channel my passion and commitment into a journey of discovering, embarking on daily challenges to break down the rules I have made.
Each daily “exercise” will be at home or local, it will be savory, sweet, and most importantly fun (although the ED voice often takes this aspect away). It will be with and without people. I will allow myself to go and have these things by myself simply for myself rather than going with another person as part of a shared social experience. I will also challenge myself to these shared experiences, as I still question what others think of me, I question my lovability, deservability and likeability in every capacity, especially when challenging these rules.
On the surface this seems like an easy and perfect challenge for me. Especially if you have read my “Best Almond Croissant” blog post. My daily pastry dates were a dream, but they became very safe. This next stage is perhaps less of a structured challenge, rather it breaks my perceptions of indulgence, joy and spontaneity. It represents one huge personal challenge that I have struggled to overcome in the past: letting go of control.
So, the challenge here is not quite eating, as that part is within my comfort zone. The challenge here lies in giving myself permission to break rules, to experience pleasure, to not be so practical, controlled, and to (try to) experience fun along the way. It is to challenge the safety which the eating disorder provided me. It is also to challenge my perception of “weakness”, of asking for help, of asking for support and to be seen in every capacity- to not put on a brave face even when inside I may be crumbling.
Self care isn't always baths, face masks and candles. Self care is actually unrelated to food in this context itself. It's showing up every day and breaking rules. It’s showing up and taking risks. It’s showing up and giving myself permission to do it. It is giving myself permission to honour my emotions. Permission to be me. Self care is showing up for myself. That's what self care is.