Have hope, chase joy, embrace life – recovery is possible.

Day 5: Connection

Welcome to Day 5 of lifeinfullcolour’s 6-Day Exploration of Health At Every Size (HAES) – today’s theme is Connection 🙂

If you are just joining us now, you might also like to go back & try my Self-Care Challenge from Day 1,  Joyful Movement Challenge from Day 2, Intuitive Eating Challenge from Day 3, or Self-Acceptance Challenge from Day 4 🙂

Eating disorders flourish in an environment of disconnection & loneliness, but they can also help to create this environment.

Eating disorders are scary – my violent mood swings from frustrated screaming, to terrified & hysterical crying, to an impulsive mania, & back again, left friends & family asking “Where is the lovely girl i once knew? Will i ever see that sweet girl again?”. My grey-toned flesh & weakness, coupled with frequent trips to the emergency room left people terrified & wondering “Will this be the last time i see her alive?” It was a terrifying prospect, & one few people wanted to expose themselves to – out of fear many people removed themselves from my life.

Leaving the house had also become overwhelming, & the thought of having to eat something unplanned & unmeasured terrified me – after being turned down time after time, friends stopped inviting me out. neg used this as “proof” that everyone hated me, that i was a horrible person, & that i would never have any true & lasting relationships with people. I withdrew even further into my disorder.

(Image via: My camera! :))

The first few years surrounding my ED diagnosis, were the loneliest of my life. The lack of connection in my life left me feeling more hollow & empty than a lack of food ever could. But as i progressed through treatment, i began to reach out to people again – it was incredibly difficult, but i began to reconnect.

My treatment team & i now realise how important connection is to my continuing recovery – so much so, that my entire relapse prevention plan centres around it. While “me time” is also listed, things like talking to friends, maintaining contact with other positive body image activists, &  volunteering are all listed as important connections for supporting my recovery.

I try to maintain a sense of connection however i can, & today i want to encourage you to do the same!

Studies have shown that maintaining positive connections can not only provide a sense of companionship, or a shoulder to cry on, but can also assist us in maintaining our physical health, & even extending our life!

A study by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University in Australia, followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years, & found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%. As well as helping ward off illnesses such as depression, a sense of connection has also been found to improve the health of people suffering cancer & cardiovascular problems.

Day 5 – Connection:

My challenge for you today, it to reflect & connect 🙂

  1. Reflect
    • Who?
      Who do you feel most connected to?
      Can you list 3 people in your life that you feel close to?
    • What?
      What activities make you feel connected?
  2. Connect
    • Who?
      How can you reconnect with the people you listed above?
      How might you connect with someone new?
    • What?
      How can you make more time in your life for the activities you listed above?
      If you are not yet engaged in them, how can you begin to incorporate these activities into your life?
  3. Make time for connection today 🙂
    • Call or visit a friend or family member
    • Say hello or smile as you pass someone in the street
    • Hug someone

How will you connect with someone today? 🙂

Be sure to pop on over to lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page today, where our theme of Connection will be permeating my posts. And please feel free to share with me there, or here on the blog how you have found today’s Connection Challenge – i’d love to hear about your experiences! :)

(Unless specified, images via: We ♥ it.)

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