Eating Disorders and Valentine’s Day Sadness
February 14th is St. Valentine’s Day – which has been celebrated as a day of romance for many years. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making this the second most popular card-sending day after Christmas (Source: History.com). And then there are all the flowers, jewelry and other gifts – and of course, chocolates in a heart-shaped box.
If you are currently in a relationship with a “significant other,” then this time of year may be very special to you. However, if you have recently gone through a breakup – or, if you have been single for a while – then you might think of St. Valentine’s Day as “St. Sadness Day.” If your eating disorder (ED) seems like the only relationship you have, and you’re tempted to binge on those chocolates (or engage in other ED behaviors) – consider these strategies instead:
Name Your Feelings: You may notice a sense of discomfort, or an awareness of low energy levels – see if you can get more specific, and identify the actual feelings you are experiencing. Sadness? Loneliness? Grief? Depression?
Explore WHY You Have These Feelings: Perhaps you feel sad because you know that no one is going to buy you a romantic card or give you flowers. You might feel lonely, because you realize that you don’t have anyone to spend this “special day” with. Maybe you are thinking about previous years, when you were in a relationship – and you are grieving the loss of this relationship. You might even feel depressed, because you wonder if you will ever find that “special someone” to share your life with. Although these feelings may be uncomfortable, it’s important to give yourself permission to fully FEEL them – rather than turning to ED as a way to avoid them, numb them, or escape from them. Consider writing in a journal, expressing your emotions through art or music, or talking with a trusted friend or your therapist.
Change Your Mind to Lift Your Mood: After you have allowed your feelings to flow for a little while, go back to the THOUGHTS which are underneath your feelings. See if you can identify another possibility, which can elevate your mood. For example, “No one is going to buy me a card or gift,” can become, “Who can I buy a card or gift for? What if I buy a card and flowers for my Self?” Similarly, “I don’t have anyone to spend Valentine’s Day with,” can become, “What special plans can I make for this day? Do I have a friend or family member I can share some love with?” And if you’re thinking about past/future relationships, such as, “I’ll never meet that someone special,” consider, “There are billions of people on this planet, and surely there is one person who I can develop a partnership with. What groups can I get involved with, so I can meet people who share my interests?”
Let this St. Valentine’s Day become “St. Self-Care Day” – and perhaps the day you “breakup” with ED!
If you’re looking for a support group, come to our Intuitive Eating Support Group which meets every Monday night from 6:30-8pm. Join us before the group at 6pm, to practice your Intuitive Eating skills while we enjoy a meal or snack together. Snacks are provided – or bring your own. MORE INFO: http://positivepathways.com/workshops-and-groups/
Interested in a FREE consultation? Dr. Dorie would like to get to know you and give you feedback about EDIT™ individual therapy and group options. Call 720-606-3242 or learn more: http://positivepathways.com/free-consultation/