Grief and Self-Care in Eating Disorder Recovery

There often seems to be common themes that appear in my nutrition counseling work. And it always amazes me how many clients seem to be working through similar struggles at any given moment. Over the past two months there has been an unusual amount of grief that my clients have been working through. All of us seem to need grief support at some point.

Grief is such a challenging emotion. All emotions ebb and flow. But when grief hits it can feel unending. One of the best therapists I know has called grief “emotional death.” And if you have experienced it, you know that description feels incredibly accurate.

So why talk about grief on a nutrition counseling blog? I talk about it because grief affects our ability to take care of ourselves. When we are overcome with grief our sleep suffers, eating becomes difficult, and getting through the day feels like climbing through quicksand. Grief support in eating disorder recovery can include self-care and self-love techniques.

So here are four self-care tips to consider while coping with grief when recovering from an eating disorder.

  1.  Find a mantra that feels soothing- “I will not always feel this bad”, “Other people have gone through this experience and survived”, “This level of emotional pain cannot be sustained and will subside”.
  2.  Send a message to trusted people in your life to express your pain. Explain that they don’t have to necessarily do anything. Just let them know so you feel less alone in your pain.
  3.  If you can think of specific things that another person could do for you, ask. When I was going through a particularly challenging time I emailed some friends to make me food for a week. I knew feeding myself felt too overwhelming and I was tired of eating cereal for every meal.
  4.  Focus on engaging in one task per day that settles your nervous system down. We often forget that we experience emotions in and through our bodies. Our bodies need care and nurturing in order to get through difficult times. Things that settle your system may be a bath, a massage, listening to peaceful music, or practicing mindfulness.

A client of mine, who is going through some serious grief, found and shared this wonderful yoga for grief meditation. It’s free and I highly recommend it. It’s actually what inspired this post, so enjoy!

Have you made it through a seemingly impossible and painful time in your life? What helped you cope with the feelings of grief and how did you take good care of yourself during such a difficult time? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Four self-care tips to consider when coping with grief during eating disorder recovery.