10 Products That Can Make Recovery Easier
“Nothing about this process is comfortable” is a sentence I’ve heard more than once throughout my recovery from anorexia. Challenging long held beliefs, accepting body changes, and relearning just how to cope with life in a healthy way can take you far from your comfort zone.
Here are ten things that can help make recovery a little easier as you navigate the process.
1. Leggings. I spent months in leggings- I’m wearing them right now. Thank god they’ve become fashionably acceptable and easily accessible at almost any clothing store. Part of recovery, a big part, is refeeding. Following meal plans, altering your activity level, or introducing different foods you can expect changes to your body. You won’t always like them. I cried, maybe more than once, over clothing that made me feel exposed or uncomfortable. Leggings gave me the flexibility in sizing that I needed as my body changed in various stages of recovery. I didn’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe or wear clothing that brought my attention to my new shape at a time when my body image was fragile. Aerie has a great selection and they’re super soft. These are one of my go-to pairs:
2. Peppermint oil pocket roller. Between the anticipation of meals, the actual eating, and sitting with the emotions afterward anxiety felt overwhelming. I found diffusing essential oils to be helpful at home but not easy to travel with, obviously. I’ve loved the portability of the roll on. Its about the same size as a tube of lip gloss so it fits easily in my pocket, purse, or drawer at work. I roll it on the inside of my wrists but I’m sure there are other spots that work just as well. Peppermint is a calming and pretty inconspicuous scent if you’re out in public and don’t want to draw attention to it. You can purchase it, or other scents, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F5AL8FG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&th=1
3. Puzzles. Part of recovery, for me, required stillness. Drastically lower my level of movement at a time that I was at my most stressed felt impossible. The idea that I needed to sit for my body to heal and my mind to make new healthy connections to physical activity was difficult. I suddenly had a lot of free time-still time- to fill. After I burned through stacks of books and watched as many tv shows as I could find I moved to puzzles. I stuck with them for months. The early months in recovery that I had all of this nervous energy and no longer able to use activity to dissipate it. It was incredibly helpful to find something that occupied my mind, hands, and kept me still.
This one’s perfect-you can’t go wrong with smiling dogs.
4. Hair conditioner. My hair, my poor hair. Eating disorders are not kind to hair. Recovery brings it back to life. But I found it needed a little extra care. After a some trial and error, I found this one repairs well and it smells amazing.
5. Blanket. There’s just something magical about a good blanket. Wrapping yourself up in it and feeling cozy and warm-it’s pretty much the best feeling ever. Find yourself a big, soft, cozy blanket here (bonus points for it having llamas on it!) https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1944597/the-big-one-super-soft-plush-throw.jsp?color=Aqua%20Dogs&prdPV=1
6. Necklace/ring symbol. Whether it’s a semi-colon, the NEDA symbol, or something else find something symbolic to your growth. This is incredible work. Some days you’ll need to be able to look down and be reminded of that in a tangible way. A ring, necklace, tattoo- something that you can keep with you to stay connected to your motivation. Early in my recovery I came across an Indian proverb that an arrow can only be shot ahead by first being drawn backwards. Something about that metaphor became a powerful visual for me when I struggled. I now wear an arrow necklace and feeling it everyday keeps me linked with the warmth and reassurance I felt when I first came across the proverb. You can find a necklace like mine here https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-3772740/lc-lauren-conrad-arrow-link-necklace.jsp?prdPV=6
7. Facial moisturizer. Much like my hair, my skin needed some special attention. With hormones changing and stress my skin was yo-yoing between dry and brittle to oily and broken out. This YesTo moisturizer from Target was worked for both ends of the spectrum: https://www.target.com/p/yes-to-cucumbers-daily-calming-moisturizer-1-7-fl-oz/-/A-11269653
8. Special plate/silverware. Recovery and eating. You can’t have one without the other. You can grab some custom cutlery that help make it a little more inspiring on Etsy.
9. Journal. Processing through the emotions that recovery brings was an important tool for me. Getting everything out of my head and being able to see it on paper helped me sort through what was happening. I started with a prompted journal like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Start-Where-You-Are-Self-Exploration/dp/0399174826/ref=tmm_other_meta_binding_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1564588317&sr=8-3
10. Bath bombs. They’re pretty- something about them brings out the six-year-old in me. Watching them dissolve is mesmerizing. Plus you get to do both in a warm bathtub. ‘Nuf said. Lush carries a huge selection of bombs like this one https://uk.lush.com/products/bath-bombs/groovy-kind-love You can also find quick a few neat ones at Target.
“I found quite a bit of reprieve and support from this list and I hope you’re able to as well. Know that recovering from an eating disorder is a long and difficult journey to see your way through but it doesn’t have to be unbearable.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: VANNA WINTERS
My profound desire to bring awareness to the public and a sense of unwavering support to those forging their way through recovery from mental illness continues to push me through own recovery. I've spent twenty years living both in the dark corners of mental illness and in recovery- as a child and an adult. These experiences, alongside a degree in psychology, have cultivated a strong insight into eating disorders and their manifestation that propels me forward to be a voice in the mental health community through my writing and advocacy. I work as a contributor for The Mighty, The Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness, Recovery Warriors, Beating Eating Disorders and several other mental health organizations.