“A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.”
This is usually where I insert music that accompanies the post, but because we just moved and I don’t have my computer set up I just have to link the YouTube video to a song I just heard (and love) that goes with this post. Please follow the link and give it a listen before reading the post.
I am working on becoming a diamond. Even though I think I look pretty calm and collected on the exterior, I am actually stressing quite a bit these days about my life. While some of these stressors are inevitable when it comes to relocating and technically being “homeless” at the moment, how I handle these stressors says a lot about my recovery and how far I’ve come. Pressure and heat form a diamond and well, I’m under a lot of pressure right now to finalize a new home and move out of our temporary housing and this house is definitely in the land of heat! Therefore, I am becoming a diamond.
On a weekly basis I receive messages from frequent readers who mention how much my openness helps them in their recovery or how much they glean from my willingness to share both my struggle and ways to cope with poor body image. My point is not to brag on myself and my willingness to live life as an open book but to really point out that we aren’t alone. We all deal with stressors in life and many women cope in much the same way–by turning to food related behaviors–previously eating disordered or not. Some women choose to eat more when stressed, some eat less, while others choose other methods of coping that can lead down a slippery slope. Just a few days ago a friend reached out to me asking if I had any suggestions or guidance to help her navigate some stressors and anxiety because she noticed some old eating disorder behaviors returning. We are not alone. We all have stress in our lives and we have to find better ways of handling it. The question then becomes “How do I handle this stress?” rather than “Can I handle this stress?”
While talking to my friend I told her about how our recent move has brought the temptation to handle stress by using my old friend ED (eating disorder) to the forefront of my options; reiterating she wasn’t alone and she can come up with a better way to handle it. As soon as we moved I hit the ground “running” by enrolling in exercise classes and group yoga to keep my body going at an intense pace to help cope. To some this doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, but to my husband it started sending up red flags right away. Needless to say, I backed off the classes and reevaluated my reasoning for doing it. Yes, it was a way to handle stress but for me it wasn’t the right way. Yoga, when used correctly, is a great stress reliever for me and that is how I intend to use it from here on out. Talking to my friend and listening to my husband forced me to see that the way I was handling the stress wasn’t right and it was heading down the slippery slope to becoming unhealthy. I’ve come too far to turn back and go the old route now. So I’m not.
Together my husband and I came up with new ways for me to cope that will fit nicely into our new lifestyle. I took those same principles and talked to my friend about applying them to her life. You have to find what works for you; what protects your recovery or positive body image. Maybe it is something non-physical such as reading a book or having an American Idol style sing off in your kitchen. Find that coping skill and hold on to it. Trust me, I’m taking my own advice on this one! Until we are a little more settled and actually have our next home, I am staying away from group fitness classes and focusing on activities that make me happy: writing for BBA, riding bikes with my family, and simply being outside in the sunshine. I found what makes me happy and helps me handle stress. I’m on my way to becoming a diamond. Considering the making of a diamond takes anywhere from 1 billion to 3 billion years I think I’m doing alright.
With Body Love,