Monday, 24 June 2013

"Relax" (part one of a multi-part masterpiece)

Seems easy enough, doesn’t it? It seems that time and time again during my recovery process people tell me to “just relax” in order to get out of my black hole rut of depression. Anyone who suffers from any sort of disorder that causes anxiety or depression would likely be able to relate to me when I say I feel like wringing the sorry necks of the people who think it’s easy to “just relax”. This is especially because the nature of the beast when it comes to Anorexia more often than not involves the sufferer becoming isolated, no longer doing the things they used to love. For me that includes painting, playing my guitar, singing, sitting down and playing video games, or watching television, going out, drinking, partying, going out for dinner…The list is endless. ED took away all of that and more, making me feel as if I do not deserve to take a motherfucking break and enjoy myself once in a while. I probably mentioned this before, but the first time I sat down to paint, I cried uncontrollably. I kept repeating the words “I don’t know how” over and over again. No. It wasn’t that I didn’t remember how to paint… You don’t forget how to do that shit. It was because I did not know how to enjoy myself and have fun. As I sat there, mixing my watercolors, that voice inside my head was convincing me that I was being unproductive, that I haven’t earned the privilege of having fun and relaxing. It is complete and utter bullshit I tell you!

As promised, I have come up with a post containing “ways to relax”. I am coming up with a bucket list and presenting it to you in stages, as I keep coming up with more things to add  (and I seriously don’t want to write a novel in one post), I am attempting to accomplish each one of these bucket list items. As I do this, I am keeping a photo diary of my attempts at relaxation! That’s why this is taking so damned long…That and I don’t have much will to do anything anymore. I have realized as of late that all the progress I am making with weight restoration (which is torture) and other physical stuff is almost futile as I feel like no psychological headway is happening. So, we (as in my family, my doctor, and countless others) have come to the conclusion that I need to learn how to be myself in order to get to the point of self-love, acceptance, trust, and enjoyment of living (along with making some scary but manageable changes to my eating). This will all come eventually, but we have to start somewhere. So here we are…

Ways to relax.

Treat yo’self 

Eventually I am hoping this will involve some sort of tasty food treat like an ice cream cone, going out for dinner with my family, a friend or (gasp) a boy (if that ever happens…) without feeling guilt, shame, like I am going to blow up like a balloon, die, or “get fat again”. But, for now, treating yourself involves doing things that focus on you. Time to be utterly selfish, ladies and gents! For me, treating myself has involved a mini “spa evening” (which was more entertaining and terrifying than anything). It was this particular evening my mother thought that my attempt at being feminine, girly, and “relaxed” was hilarious and required photo documentation. This is when we came up with the idea of a relaxation photo blog. So, you have the Mama to thank for these hilarious pictures. I gave myself a manicure and pedicure (quite successfully, might I add), took a long shower, paid attention to my body through using lots of lovely smelly Body Shop products and lastly, using a face mask (which is apparently something people find to be relaxing and nice – I however, found it quite uncomfortable and terrifying…Though my face was pretty damned smooth afterward, I must admit).

So, this happened. You're welcome. No wonder people are lined up to date me.

Be smart about this one. We all have the tendency to overdo it (I am guilty of this lately. Exercise provides me with a release like no other. It is the one time I feel in tune with, accepting of, and completely positive about my body and myself in it, so naturally I want to do it as much as possible. I have to be careful though, forcing myself to take a break, rest, and avoid overtraining and injury).

Exercise can be anything, really. There’s this common misconception that in order for something to be considered “exercise” one must be sweaty, uncomfortable, sore, and miserable…As if getting good old exercise that strengthens that ticker of yours and tones up those fantabulous muscles you all have should be a form of punishment. Take Harv for example. He bikes regularly. He didn’t consider his 20 kilometer bike ride a workout because he “enjoyed it”. Well, Harv, I’m sorry to tell you that you are very, very wrong. And to those of you who agree with Harv, you’re wrong too, got it ?! I am figuratively shaking my fist at all of you silly people, just so you know. Exercise can be going for a little stroll around town, going to the gym, hitting it hard or taking it easy, swimming, gardening, yoga, chasing little kids around at the park (preferably kids of your own/little brothers or sisters/kids you babysit. I’m not sure parents would take kindly to a random stranger chasing their children around at the park).

For me, exercise includes getting a decent amount of cardio exercise in order to train for my upcoming run (running outdoors or on a treadmill, going for walks, workin’ it on the stepper or the elliptical machine, for example), lifting weights, and attending fitness classes at the gym (which are mega funtimes). This is a recent thing I started doing, as I noticed myself feeling “stuck” in my workout routine. I’ve attended a few upper body classes, a legs class and an abs class. They were all really fun! You get a great workout which you can do at your own pace, and you have a trainer/the rest of the group around as motivation. It’s quite the time. Yoga is also a big staple for me when it comes to exercise. Not only is yoga fantastic for toning muscles, and building strength and balance, but it is SO good for your mind. You get into the zone, surrender yourself to the Earth, and let go the negativities that are plaguing you. You are forced to breathe correctly hold correct posture, and even if it’s just twenty minutes of yoga in the morning, or some nice stretches before you go to sleep at night, yoga can be such a benefit. It literally saved my life. Not only does it keep me flexible and strong after ending my dancing “career” of 19 years, but it made me realize how small and weak my body was, and that something needed to change.

I also run. I run A LOT. It’s become a new love of mine. I tune out, get into my own mind and pound my sneaks into the pavement. If I reach my goal for the day, I’m elated. If I’m too tired and I need to walk some of the route, that’s OK too. So long as I feel good and accomplished. My best time for an outdoor 5 km is 28:22. I felt like Rocky after that run! I’ve mentioned before that my goal is to complete a 5 km fun run in August, so I’m training hard. This is proving to me that fueling my body and taking care of myself brings results, and that’s some damn fine motivation, people. Besides, running is cheap and can be done almost anytime and anywhere!

Before a run.

Baseball hat = instant dude.

A view on one of my strolls around town <3

Ah, Bliss

MOAR YOGA. Always Yoga.
Do art

Before I switched to Sociology, I was pursuing a Fine Arts degree. Art has always been a part of my life, and it’s also something ED has taken away from me. I’m fighting to get it back. So, relaxing through art work is a little difficult for me at the time, as it feels I am really undeserving of the time to myself, or that I suck at art. I push through and keep doing it though, and I am normally pretty happy with the results. If I can do this, you can too!

Art therapy is on the rise for sure, and I can see why people are tuning into its therapeutic benefits. So, when I say do art to relax, I mean do anything artistic! You don’t have to be an artist to do art. You can make a freakin’ macaroni art picture, for frig sakes! As long as it gives you some sort of release, then you’re doing it right, kiddo! If you aren’t so artistically inclined and also have troubles tossing that pressure to be “artistic” aside and honing in on your macaroni art skills, there are countless books and journals available that can give you all sorts of inspiration! Wreck This Journal is a really great one to get you started. I got one for Christmas from M, and let me tell you, that fucker is one of the most cathartic pieces of literature I have ever thrown across the room, thrown paint at, spit on or taken for a walk (do some research into the journal… Then I won’t sound so weird, promise).

Point is, take the time and express yourself through some sort of medium. You might be surprised what you come up with, and will learn about yourself (and what’s troubling you) in the process!

Don't screw with the creative process, got it?

Not done by yours truly, but I recognize genius when I see it.

So, that’s it for now…Installment one of my “ways to relax” post! I have quite a few more to add to this list, and a few more I am working on compiling photos for, so you will just have to hold onto your pretty little hats (because I know you are all bursting with so much excitement for installment two that you can barely contain yourself, truly).

As for how I am doing, well, I don’t want to drag this blog post through the mud, so I am going to refrain from giving you a detailed update for now. I’ll try to get one up within the next few days. Things have been really tough, but I’m getting through it OK, fighting tooth and nail. I’m surviving, and trying to kick as much ass as possible. That’s really all that matters right now.

So, go forth in the world with your new found knowledge on a few ways to relax (or continue doing what you’re doing because you’ve already got this shit mastered). If anything, you have a photo of me in a face mask to laugh at when you’re feeling bad about yourself. I’m here to help, promise.

A little positive affirmation for the day (from my pinterest board)

Until next time,

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