To my beloved eating disorder recovery community- specifically those of you silently struggling with being unable to exercise due to air quality and gym closures.
I see you. Your struggle is valid. And I have so much compassion for you.
I know it is hard but take the rest. Your chest and lungs need you.
I encourage you to reflect on what the fear of being unable to exercise is really about: is it control, worth? How else might you care for that need/feeling today?
I know it may be hard to believe right now, but you are worth not punishing yourself. Your worth is not attached to your appearance. You are worth pursuing your values, long term hopes and goals.
Even if you do not believe these things now, do it for the part of you that wants to believe them- the part that hopes there is even a 1% chance recovery is possible. Do it because it is the next best step towards the life you dream for yourself. Do it because it is exactly what you would encourage a friend in recovery to do. Remind yourself that even if you feel alone in your struggle, and as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, you are not, and there is.
Here are some alternative ways you may choose to care for yourself today:
Reach out to a trusted friend or loved one.
- Use the time you would normally be exercising to journal and check in with yourself.
- Reflect on your core values, and how taking a break today may align with those values.
- Remind yourself of reasons to recover.
- Name and identify how you are feeling, and express compassion for it.
- Listen to a podcast or engage another activity to mindfully distract yourself.
- Get critical of the social constructs that encourage a correlation between worth, weight, and appearance.
- Utilize “and” statements: You can feel frustrated and upset that you are not able to exercise AND know that you will ultimately be okay, and these emotions will pass.
Christian Makenna Clements is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #111159.