3 Tips for Coping When Things Don’t Go Your Way
Katy Harvey, RD, CEDRD
This morning I got up super early, and it was raining outside, but I was still committed meeting my friends for an early morning run. It was hard to drag myself out of my cozy bed, knowing that I was going to probably get soaked on this run. Yet, I pushed through the resistance because I value the companionship with these friends so much. I got myself dressed and my husband was prepped to spend the morning with our two young children. I drove down to the park where we always meet. As I was sitting in my car waiting for my friends I realized I had worn my flip-flops and left my running shoes at home.
How freaking frustrating.
How’d I cope when things didn’t go my way? And how can YOU cope with frustrations in your recovery process? Here are 3 tips:
Try to see the bigger picture. A lot of the things we stress about aren’t that big of a deal if we step back and think about it. Ask yourself, “Is this still going to feel like a big deal a week from now? A year from now? Ten years from now?” Probably not.
Perhaps you are frustrated when you have a particularly difficult meal. You could get hung up in feeling like a failure or in blaming people around you. Zoom out and realize that it’s just one meal. Sure, maybe it wasn’t a great experience, but we have multiple opportunities per day to eat. One rough meal, one rough day, one rough week - these don’t have to define your recovery. In the grand scheme of time, this is just a blip. Zooming out allows you to see this.
Keep moving forward
Put one foot in front of the other. Remember that recovery is never a linear process and there will always be ups and downs. Consider this - we often learn more from the times that things don’t go our way. That is where the nuggets of wisdom come from. Reflect on what happened, learn from it, and move on.
As Jenni Schafer, author of Life Without Ed says, “Do the next right thing.” Whatever the next right thing in your recovery process is, do it. Dwelling on your frustration isn’t going to make things better. Acknowledge your feelings when things don’t go your way, and move on.
Push past the resistance
You’re eating disorder will use these times to slip in and take over. Often times the familiarity of the eating disorder makes it seem appealing to throw your hands in the air and give in. It’s the “what the heck” response when you figure that you might as well just give up because things didn’t go well. “I’ll start over again tomorrow,” you tell yourself.
The resistance to getting back on the horse makes it seem like a daunting task. The key is to keep going and push past the resistance. Do something intentionally every day that aligns with your recovery values. Celebrate the ups, and learn from the downs.
What did I do when I realized I left my running shoes at home? My initial wave of emotions was of anger and frustration. I quickly zoomed out and realized that this wasn’t that big of a deal. I figured I could head back home and cuddle with my boys in their PJ's, and get to church without being rushed. I’m a believer that sometimes these things are just meant to be.
As I was driving home I cracked up at how amusing this was that I went to all this effort on such a dreary morning, and ended up forgetting the most crucial item for running - my shoes. The best part? My friend texted me back that I had shown up at the wrong time anyway. LOL.
This was a perfect example of something not going my way and having to cope. Flexibility and adaptability are important skills in recovery. Just like any other skill, these take practice. Give yourself grace and don’t give up, no matter how frustrating things get.
Katy Harvey, RD is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) from Kansas City. She has an outpatient private practice where she helps individuals heal their relationship with food, exercise and their body. She also blogs at Katy’s Blog.