We can probably all remember those fire-safety classes from elementary school, where we were taught what to do in case of fire. "Stop, Drop and Roll" always sticks in my head (for what to do if you're clothes are on fire).
Sometimes in recovery we need to break things down to their simplest form. "What can I actually DO when I'm feeling stressed out, or guilty, or like I'm going to act on my impulses to engage in ED behaviors?"
So lets call this FISHSAFETY 101
Stop, Swap and Console
STOP what you're doing. Calm your thoughts. Try to identify what you're feeling. Ground yourself in the now and say STOP in your mind. Visualize a stop sign.
SWAP things in your mind. Think about someone you care about... "would my loved-one deserve to feel guilty in this situation?"; "Would I want a loved-one to act on this impulse?"; "Would I exercise compassion if my loved-one was feeling this way?" Now swap again. Remind yourself that YOU deserve as much patience and compassion that you believe a loved-one deserves. You ARE a loved-one to yourself... so you should treat yourself accordingly!
CONSOLE yourself. Take care of YOU. Give yourself comfort. Journal if you have to. Call your therapist or someone you trust and ask for help. Address your feelings. Communicate what you're feeling... really feeling. Validate yourself. Help yourself to cope in more healthy and productive ways.
Three steps to take during a rough time. Even just the thinking of Stop, swap and console is a step in the right direction! Learning to start to take care of ourselves is a process, and we won't nail it the first time out, but starting out with three simple words will help you learn to identify when you truly need to take care of YOU... to learn to identify what is going on inside... and to take steps towards better self-care in the future.
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