5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Recovery
June 22, 2018, 9:34 a.m.
Whether you're just starting down the recovery path or you're long asymptomatic, healing is a lengthy, difficult process that can leave you completely exhausted. When you've been in recovery for some time and you've heard similar things over and over again, it's easy to feel like there is nothing new to learn. What I've discovered in my own recovery journey is that there is always something more to learn and that healing tends to come in fits and bursts. I have found that there can be periods of intense learning, listening, and processing, and plateaus in between. There are times when I am just not ready to listen and other times when I soak up everything like a sponge, and make incredible strides forward.
So what can you do to keep making progress even when you're in one of those plateau phases of healing? When nothing seems to help - no skills, tools, well meaning advice, therapy etc? For me, it is during these periods that having recovery built into my everyday life is essential. I have compiled a list of some ways I've built recovery and healing into my life that might be helpful for you as well:
- Constantly expose yourself to people who keep self-care and building a meaningful life at the top of their lists. That positive forward moving energy is so important to have, especially when you're "recovery fatigued".
- Make sure to talk to someone you trust on a regular basis - even if you're feeling great. Whether that's a therapist, peer mentor, or close-friend, the process doesn't stop because you're asymptomatic or you feel good. Keep exploring, unearthing and processing.
- Write your insights down. Even if it's just bullet points on a piece of paper or notes on your phone. Processing can be incredibly complicated work and leaving it as a jumbled, chaotic soup in your head doesn't help. Most likely, it'll just overwhelm you. Writing things down can help you organize your thoughts and it can be a reminder of the important strides you've made.
- Take it one step at a time. Especially during those periods of intense learning, it's important to slow down and take it step-by-step. You can't forcibly figure it all out at once and have it over and done with. The healing process is messy and will spill over into your life and interrupt your day. When this happens, STOP. Stop and acknowledge what's happening. Bring your full attention to it. Talk about it, write about it, be mindful of it. Only half paying attention to what's going on will just make it more likely to burst into life in a bigger way later on.
- Rest. Find a few activities that allow you to rest. Recovery involves a lot of very uncomfortable moments (and hours and days), when all you can really do is sit with it. There is no avoiding it. I used to play a simple game on my phone. It didn't fully engross me for hours but it allowed me to take a quick break.
Healing takes time...get your skills ready, rally your supports around you and lean into it.
Sonia Seguin is co-founder and Executive Director of not-for-profit organization Body Brave. Body Brave provides peer and professional support to those struggling with body image issues, disordered eating and eating disorders. Sonia suffered from an eating disorder in her late teens and early twenties and has been recovered for 6 years. She has a Masters in Business and Economics and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. She and the Body Brave team strive to reduce stigma around eating disorders and provide accessible support to those struggling.
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