The holidays are upon us, yet we are still in a pandemic. A time typically filled with parties, gift exchanges, and family get-togethers may be void of organized activities this year. If you feel a sense of dread when you gaze at your December calendar and only empty squares loom ahead, do not despair. We have 5 soul-nourishing activities you can do while at home this season.
Downtime can be scary
Early in my recovery, I felt extremely anxious whenever I had free time. I was so used to buzzing from one thing to another and distracting myself with being “busy.” I feared I would sink back into using symptoms if I was alone without any plans. Living with an eating disorder disconnects us from our inner world, our creative processes, and our soul’s purpose.
Recovering is about learning to get to know who you are – deep down- below the eating disorder.
Doing this deep inner work helps unlock the potential within you. Having free time does not have to be terrifying. Remember that you do have a choice of how you spend your time. So give yourself permission to settle in this holiday season and try some of our suggested activities below.
1. Creative Journaling
Journaling can be an incredibly useful tool for recovery. Perhaps you have always enjoyed writing in a diary. If so, letting your most inner thoughts and feelings bleed out onto a page can be an extremely cathartic process.
But for many warriors, writing in a journal is one of their least favorite activities. It can feel like a daunting task. If stark white pages on a journal intimidate you, remember there is no “right” or “wrong” way to journal. Think of the pages of your private journal as a private place to dump any thoughts, feelings, or stories that are in your head. Using different colored pens or markers, adding drawings, or buying a journal with prompts are ways to change up the process.
2. Explore a Favorite Hobby
Think back to when you were five years old and consider what activities you enjoyed the most. As a child, what were you most excited about doing on an unstructured Saturday? Did you lose yourself in reading? Perhaps you enjoyed coloring and drawing? Maybe you filled your afternoons with roller skating, riding a bike, or shooting baskets? Did you play an instrument, enjoy singing, or love to dance?
There are no age limits on activities or hobbies. As adults, we tend to fill our days with activities we feel obligated to perform, making little time for what brings us joy.
Give yourself permission, today, to spend some time doing something that lights up your soul.
3. Learn Something New
When I was stuck in my eating disorder, I saw the world as a very rigid place. Ever the perfectionist, I hated trying anything new because of fear. I was only comfortable doing activities I was already good at. This was a very closed off way to live, and it prevented the growth and joy that learning brings.
Letting go of the pressure to be “good” at everything opened up the door to many new experiences for me. This allowed in growth, joy, and healing.
Is there a skill you have always wanted to learn, but never had the time to try? Think outside of the box and be creative. Consider activities you have always been drawn to. There is an entire world of information on the internet. You can find a YouTube “how-to” video on practically any subject. And don’t forget there is probably a book about any subject you can imagine.
Get creative. Maybe you have always wanted to speak french- check out some audio lessons available. My husband decided in his 30’s he wanted to take up juggling. I found a fun book that came with 3 beanbags to practice with. Maybe you want to learn how to knit, cross-stitch, or do needlework. No hobby is off-limits- allow yourself to explore something new.
Or, instead of learning a new skill, consider a subject you have always been curious about. Check out books on the topic, research it online, or search for documentaries on it. Whether you are interested in astrology, animals, gardening, or sports- learning more about your interests can be fun and enriching.
4. Get Out Some Paint
As a child, painting was one of my favorite activities. Sadly, somewhere along the way, I closed the door to my artistic side.
Rediscovering my love of art was one of the many gifts recovery brought to me.
You do not need expensive supplies or fancy paper to lose yourself in art. Get out any paints you have, or pick up a set of kids’ watercolors at the grocery store next time you go.
Let go of your ideas of what art “should” look like, and give yourself permission to play around with paint and water. Participate in the activity NOT for the outcome or finished project, but for the JOY it brings in the moment.
I love making backgrounds by mixing watercolors and playing around with paint. Experiment with how the paint spreads when you drop it onto wet paper vs dry paper. Try adding salt on top of your paper and watch the colors spread. Remember- there is no correct way to make art.
Once your paper is dry, it can be used as a unique background. Try writing your favorite recovery affirmations or mantras on top of it. Or list out your goals for the new year on your paper. Another option- cover it with words that inspire you to continue in your recovery. Your own painted background can be the perfect backdrop to list out all of the reasons you choose recovery. Post this where you can see it during the most difficult parts of the journey. Or turn your unique background into a gratitude list. Write down everything you are thankful for- nothing is too small.
5. Create a Vision Board
Many of us reflect back on the past year as it comes to an end. At the same time, a fresh new year is right in front of us. Rather than making new year resolutions, consider creating a vision board. This can be a very creative and healing experience. Using artwork, pictures, words, and images in nature, you can create a visual map of your intentions for the next year. Once finished- display it in a place you see often. This will help connect you to your goals and your vision.
Keep Going, Warrior…
When you let go of your eating disorder, you open up space for so much more to come into your life.
If you enjoyed any of these suggestions, or you have some of your own- we would love to hear from you. Please comment below. And remember warrior- you deserve to be free from your eating disorder.