Alright be ready for this; it’s a long post about how to deal with those days when you are having a meltdown and want to binge or self harm or whatever you turn to for comfort. I think it’s really important to have a plan for the times when you feel at your lowest so you know how to deal and you don’t have to think about it. So here’s my written out plan that works for me—I encourage everyone to come up with what works for you.
- Take 10 deep breaths. Put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. You should feel them moving.
- Ujjayi breathing (yoga breathing). Connect your breath to your body; breathe into any “buzzing” or hyper spots.
- Is it the physical place that is causing anxiety? If so, leave the party/place/event. Find somewhere (bathroom, hallway, empty room) to regroup. Alternatively, go on a walk or a bike ride; go somewhere new!
- Are the people around you causing anxiety? Leave the group. Feign sickness, reschedule your hangout date, and don’t worry about what other people think.
- Reflect on the day. Has something happened that is causing these emotions or feelings? Frustrations with work, feeling homesick, etc.
- Look at the to-do list. Are there nagging tasks causing undue stress? (I often feel very overwhelmed at these moments) Tackle ONE thing on the list (the simplest one!)
- Put down the list. Remind yourself that not everything on the list is important and life will continue whether or not said tasks are competed.
- Define the emotions. Journal your thoughts and EXACTLY what you are thinking/feeling.
- If you’re feeling depressed, slow, or tired: Go on a walk, read a book, or accomplish the smallest and easiest task on the to-do list. If it feels necessary to nap, do it in the sunshine; lay out a towel!
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or hyper: Work out to get rid of that crazy energy. If the urge to self harm arises, go somewhere public that would make it harder (don’t take your tools). Go on a crazy cleaning spree or tackle your to-do list with gusto.
- Feeling like a binge: Make a list of the pros and cons of binging. Think about why you want to binge and why you think it will make you feel better. Is it logical? Go eat a fruit or vegetable, or drink some water. Get out of the house, go on a walk, and don’t bring money. You can also eat something healthy and indulgent like a tuna steak or grilled chicken at a restaurant.
After It’s Passed
- Reflect. Address these issues: What brought it on? How were you feeling? How did you act on the impulse (did you try to resist at all)? What were the physical and mental repercussions of your actions?
- Make a plan for the new day to remove any guesswork or struggle.
- Do something special to feel pretty and loved (paint your nails, do some yoga, do an at home facial, etc.)
Remember. I always tell myself: “This is my body and my life. I am in control of what I choose to do and not do and how I view myself and the world. I am valuable and loved. This is my only body and it deserves to be loved and respected. My body should not bear the brunt of my mental struggles.”