A Non-Diet Approach to New Year’s Resolutions
With 2022 just around the corner, many people are making their New Year’s resolutions. As in years past, many of these resolutions will revolve around diet and weight loss. These diet culture resolutions are incredibly problematic, especially for those struggling with, recovering from, or susceptible to developing an eating disorder. Dieting is a key risk factor for eating disorders and interferes with the process of developing a healthy relationship with food.
If making a New Year’s resolution is something you would like to do, remember to do so with your recovery in mind. In this blog, we have examples of goals unrelated to diet or weight that could get you started when making your own. Some of these suggestions may not be appropriate for everyone; please work with your recovery team or modify the examples to suit your recovery needs.
1. Better Identify Your Feelings
Being human involves having a wide, complex array of emotions. A key goal in recovery is learning to feel this wide range of emotions and how to tolerate and manage them. Learning to cope with our feelings will help you accept these emotions rather than fight, numb, or ignore them. Practice self-compassion when it comes to any of these feelings, knowing all feelings are valid.
2. Get Into a Regular Sleeping Pattern
When we sleep, our bodies can repair, recharge, and relax. Making a conscious effort to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day can help restore the energy your body needs to heal and stay committed to the process of recovery.
If you are struggling with sleep, try to do a relaxing activity beforehand. Reading a book, writing in a journal, or doing yoga are all simple, calming tasks that could help you fall asleep. Try staying off your phone to reduce the strain on your eyes.
3. Write in a Journal
Journaling can be a simple way to relieve stress and practice mindfulness. You could use a journal to reflect on your day, including your thoughts and feelings about the events that happened. Don’t limit your journaling to just happy or sad feelings; welcome all emotions. Alternatively, writing a list of things you are grateful for or things you want to improve on can be nice to have as a reference to look back on if needed.
Below are a few journal prompts to help you get started:
- What do I want to say to my younger self?
- What do I want to say to my future self?
- What am I afraid of and why?
- What do I hope for and what are my goals in recovery?
- What am I grateful for right now?
- What do I love about myself?
- What makes me happy?
- What makes me sad?
- How does my body feel right now?
- How do I cope with my emotions?
- What are my short-term goals?
- What are my long-term goals?
4. Donate Old Clothes
Donating clothes is a difficult resolution that may not be for everyone, especially for those early in their recovery. If you are holding on to clothes that no longer fit, consider the reasons why. An eating disorder may give you several reasons to hold on to these clothes but doing so may be a painful trigger that keeps you stuck in recovery. While it can be challenging to get rid of clothes that no longer fit, it can benefit your healing.
This can be a process; one you do with support. You don’t have to donate all the clothes in one go. Start with something that may be easier, moving on to clothing items that may be more challenging only as you are ready. Take your time when it comes to taking on this daunting task and ask for help from your team and a support person. They may be able to help determine what should stay and what can be donated more easily, as well as help process the feelings around such clothes. If getting rid of the clothes altogether is too difficult, perhaps they could hold on to them for you.
5. Carve Out Time for Yourself
It’s said many times: we often need to take more time for ourselves and identify what it is we need. Taking a walk, reading a book, watching a movie or television show, or taking a bubble bath can be a relaxing way to get some “me time.”
Self-care may be something that many people have on their daily schedule, but others may need to carve out specific time for it. If the latter describes you, making a conscious effort to schedule alone time or purposefully making time for self-care could help you commit to those “me times.” Allow your brain and body to rest in the calmness of something you like to do.
6. Start a New Hobby
Finding a new passion can be fun and may occupy the time that might otherwise be spent engaging in eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. Check with your local recreational center to see what classes are being offered. Research tutorials on YouTube that can help you kickstart a new hobby. Find a friend to join you in classes or with at-home DIY projects. Some fun hobbies include:
- Playing board games/role-playing games
- Join a book club
- Drawing or painting
- Miniature figure building/painting
- Learning an instrument
Remember that you don’t have to be perfect in these new hobbies. The goal is simply to have fun. Try a few different options to see what sticks and feels good for you.
7. Reduce Your Time on Social Media
It’s no secret that social media can impact our health. Scrolling mindlessly for hours can contribute to boredom and a lack of motivation, which may trigger eating disorder behaviors. Social media can also exacerbate body comparison and body image issues. Taking a break from it can feel like a daunting task, but it can also help you find other things to do.
If it’s not feasible to reduce your time on social media, try unfollowing accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, and instead follow accounts that inspire, encourage, and support you in your recovery journey.
We hope one or more of these resolutions can work for you or inspire you to make other recovery-minded goals for the new year. Here’s to a healthy 2022!