The school year has finally arrived, which means time for juggling academics and your recovery. This can be especially difficult as the 'to-dos' pile up and priorities shift. Here are a few tips to help you feel more prepared to tackle these challenges
1. List it out! Having a planner or agenda can be helpful with not only planning out your day but also organizing your thoughts. Start by writing out all the things you have to get done, skills to work on, due dates, appointments, and goals. After writing out all the to-do's now comes the prioritizing. It can be helpful to break down your daily planner into the following:
Non-Negotiables: These are the items that have to be completed in the day. As you continue to practice using a planner it will be helpful to limit the number of non-negotiables you take on in a day. For example, setting your daily limit to 10 can ensure you don't take too much on in a day which can then end up defeating the purpose of planning out your day.
Ten-Minute Tasks: These are tasks that you know won't take more than 10- minutes and you can manage to squeeze in between your day-to-day items, for example: putting the dishes in the dishwasher, taking the trash out, feeding the dog, etc. They are items you know you have to get done, but don't take as huge of a time commitment nor do they have a definitive deadline apart from being completed within the day.
Extras: These are simply the things you need to put somewhere so you don't forget them, but they don't have a deadline and can be carried over to another day as a 10-minute task or simply another 'extra'.
2. Don't be afraid to ask for support. Going to school is a job alone, and adding on recovery can be mentally and physically exhausting. As you welcome the first few weeks be curious as to what you may be able to ask for help on and what in your system you can make easier for yourself. For example, if you notice that making breakfast first thing in the morning leads you to skip it more often than not, then that is part of your 'system' that may need to change. This would be a great area to ask for support or prepare your breakfast the day before. Goals can be incredibly motivating, however, one of the best ways to maintain a goal is to build a supportive system along the way. As I shared in my earlier example, the system to consistently eat breakfast is preparing it the night before or asking for support. Whichever options support the result you are working towards.
3. Lead with self-compassion and stay curious. As I shared earlier, managing both school and recovery can be exhausting and it can oftentimes feel like you are the only one struggling with this balancing act. However, try creating a mantra of self-compassion to recenter you when you feel overwhelmed or defeated to help you regain that power. An example can be as simple as " I Am Enough" and can serve as a daily reminder of your recovery. Anxiety can oftentimes spread like an infection, but you have the potential to stop it in its tracks by adding your self-compassion and creating a space to be curious as to what started the rush of emotion and identify what you may need to help support you in the future. Identifying these curious points can be especially helpful to explore in sessions with your treatment team. We are only human, and losses will happen however, the one way to move forward with those losses is to hold on to the lessons that have the potential to come from each loss.
I hope these tips support you as you welcome this upcoming school year! If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder and needs support please reach out to one of our staff members at firstname.lastname@example.org.