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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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Exclamation busyness, stress, recovery (worried about this school year) - September 2nd 2018, 02:37 PM

Hey friends!!
I have made so much progress with my recovery and I am eating regularly now. It's pretty exciting. I start school in a few days and I've been worried because I know I'll be extremely busy. I have to work after school every day because I need money to pay for voice lessons, gas and my parents are making me pay for my dietician since they are paying for therapy. I have a plan on how I can get everything done (homework, music practice, extra curricular activities, etc.) but I'm worried that it will cause me a lot stress which could make it easy to relapse.

I went into the school last week (for a meeting for something I'm, involved in) and just being there brought back so many memories of depression, food restriction, anxiety, etc. I have a huge fear of eating in public which will make it difficult to eat lunch there every day. At work, I always go to my car to eat but I can't run from this fear forever. I want to protect my mental health. Since I will be so busy, I need to be able to focus and have energy so I can't afford to be restricting. Plus, I plan on getting good grades and that is awfully hard to do if I'm tired and anxious all the time.
Any advice?
   
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Re: busyness, stress, recovery (worried about this school year) - September 2nd 2018, 05:43 PM

First of all, congratulations on making so much progress with recovery! I know you used to struggle a lot and I am so proud of you for taking the steps you need to keep yourself healthy. I have every bit of faith that you can continue to do so!

Transitions are hard, but not impossible. It sounds like you have a lot going on so I would suggest breaking your day down into small increments. Have you bought a planner? If you haven't I would definitely recommend purchasing one; it's a huge help. Once you have one, write out what you'll be doing for every bit of each day. You can break it down into however small increments you want (an hour, half hour, etc.), but plan everything out. The point isn't so much to adhere to a strict schedule (so don't stress too much about it) as it is to have planned structure, including time to relax and take care of yourself away from the responsibilities of school, work, extracurriculars, etc. It's going to seem like a lot to pack in, but between making time for yourself, remembering to schedule breaks in between tasks, and asking for help when needed from your therapist, teachers, coworkers, parents, and dietician, you can do this.

Also, I suggest planning meals in advance, maybe even as much as a week ahead, if you think that's something that would be helpful for you (it's not helpful for everyone). Get all your meals ready a day ahead of time so in the morning you can grab them and go. It's important to make time for food in your schedule because if you don't you may just end up sliding back into restricting again. Make sure you stick to the meal plan your dietician gives you, as once you start going off it it's easier to slide back into old habits. Work closely with them and your therapist to keep your recovery on track.

As for eating in public, I would suggest reintroducing yourself to it slowly. Maybe have a snack in public first before having a meal in public. I'm not sure what your fear is about eating in public, but remember that no one is paying attention to you eating. I don't know whether it would be more or less helpful to eat in a place where others are eating at the same time, so use your own discretion on that one, but just start small. Maybe, if it's too daunting to do alone, eat with friends or coworkers. Work your way up to eating in public by yourself. Show yourself compassion during the process and know it's not a race to recovery; it takes time.

Congratulations and good luck! Please PM me if you need anything. We're here for you.


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Re: busyness, stress, recovery (worried about this school year) - September 3rd 2018, 03:19 PM

Thanks Jordan!!! Yes, I am like the queen of schedules... lol. I have a few different planners for different things. I also do enjoy meal planning for the week every sunday. But soon my dietician is going to give me a type of meal plan. I’m going to try and make everything a night before but it’s so hard to find the time.
This is what my typical schedule looks like:

5am- read bible/ pray/ goals, etc.
5:30- get ready (face, teeth, make up, clothes, hair, get bag ready)
6- homework/ study
6:40- work on music
7- drive to school
7:30- school
2:40- work on music
3:30- drive to work
4- work
9- drive home
9:30- get ready for bed (face, teeth, clothes, shower, review goals)
10pm- sleep

1am- homework/study
2am- sleep until 5

I won’t sacrifice music time or homework/ study time because they are a huge investment in my future and matter a lot to me. I already have to sacrifice exercise time. I want to make food for the next day when I get ready for bed but since I only have 30 min, it will be so hard to get it all done. However, I was thinking on sundays I could make certain things that I could just already have prepared that can be stored in the fridge. That difficulty with this schedule is that I barely have time to just sit and relax. That only will happen on Sundays or possibly Saturdays. On Saturdays, I will work on music, YouTube, reading/writing which will take hours. I’m going to be so busy, I really hope this doesn’t hinder my progress in recovery.
   
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Re: busyness, stress, recovery (worried about this school year) - September 3rd 2018, 03:21 PM

Ps... the reason I have a break in sleep at 1am is because I do something called the segmented sleep cycle. If you don’t know what that is, google it.
   
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Re: busyness, stress, recovery (worried about this school year) - September 10th 2018, 11:18 AM

Love your schedule! You're doing great! And I feel you, you've got so many priorities and I know what it is to not have time (like really) to do something people consider a common part of a daily routine. When I've got to sleep 3-4 hours a day due to studying and extracurriculars, I used to plan my weekly menu on Saturday before sleep, 15-20 mins, and cook safe meal preps for the whole week on Sunday, 1-2 hours. If you can sync cooking different meals this will go faster. The important thing is to have enough lunchboxes for all of this food and to have reliable relatives who won't eat your preps. Also it is really useful cause you can plan each day menu and when you get used to it, you will have 4-5 weekly menu plans and cooking will go way faster. Making weekly menu and making meal preps helped me reduce anxiety. Good luck!
   
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