“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin
Happy Monday, Readers!
I hope you enjoyed your weekend. The mindfulness topic of this week includes coping with an eating disorder in the workplace – a topic rarely spoken about in conversation.
Whether you’ve suffered from one or not, eating disorders are a horrible thing to experience. It is something unable to be illustrated in a single blog post. They are life changing; shifting your whole world mentally and requiring a great deal of time to heal. The process of healing involves developing a healthy relationship with food, self love and a plethora of emotions. The process can take months or even years to heal without relapse. The recovery period of an eating disorder should always be celebrated; but it’s ESPECIALLY difficult when people around you are not aware of your inner struggle. Eating disorders come with shame and embarrassment – leading to the person keeping it secret from those in their inner circle. One place which is undeniably triggering is any work environment. In the office, this leaves the person in a constant struggle of loneliness and vulnerability. The constant questions, comments from others on lunch breaks and anxiety before company dinners can be a push over the edge. The words of others can sting; more so in a period of emotional instability.
To ease the pain, there is hope through mindfulness during your recovery journey. Mindfulness and active awareness are a great tool to aid in your healing. When you make the conscious decision to be mindful during times of stress, you are making a decision to choose calmness from within.
Here are my mindfulness tips on coping with an eating disorder at work – for those in recovering and fighting the good fight:
1.) Meditation Before Work:
Before you leave for the office, allow a time period for 10/15 minutes for mindfulness meditation. As always, find a comfortable spot to sit in during your practice. Feel the peace and ease of the moment. Most importantly; try to stay present – avoid thinking about your tasks at work until you get to your desk. This is a good way to promote balance before starting your day. If you go into the office with a nervous attitude, then you will be the recipient of negative emotions. Create the calmness you want to see throughout your day – and the rest will flow in your favor.
2.) The Power of Mantras:
As previously discussed in a prior post, mantras are a fantastic tool for inner reminders of ease. If you feel stressed or overwhelmed, then you will always have a positive affirmation to repeat on hand. For example; if someone makes a comment about your meal, saying the mantra; “I know what is best for me. I trust my body. I trust my health” is a soothing tool. Through positive reassurance, it keeps you on the right track towards personal healing. Try these other simple matras if you’re struggling with an ED:
“I am healing in my own time”
“The words of others don’t effect my wellbeing”
“I am choosing to listen to myself”
“I am recovering.”
“I am strength”
“I will not let words shake me”
3.) Have a Midday Mindfulness Break:
Mindfulness meditation doesn’t have to be just once a day. Try using mindfulness meditation on your lunch break. If you’re able to, take time away from the office and sit somewhere serene. Sit in silence for a few moments without distractions. Repeat your mantras to yourself through pacing your breath. Most importantly – if you’ve had a hard day, make sure to CELEBRATE your strengths. On the positive side? A lunch break most means the workday is halfway done!
4.) Mindfully Choose Your Words:
If you’re involved in non-business related office chatter, the topic of food is bound to come up. Use mindfulness to determine what words are good for you (mentally) and what topics will make you upset. If a conversation becomes too much, kindly dismiss yourself from the discussion. Remember; nobody is forcing you into a conversation. It is best to put your mental health first in uncomfortable circumstances.
5.) Cultivate a Mindful Workspace:
On average, we spend over 40 hours a week at our full time job. In this case, you might as well make a space that fits your needs! Put up words and mantras that remind you of your process. Choose to make your space feel like a “safe space.” If you’re suffering from an emotional disorder, it’s important to feel comfortable in places away from your home. Positive workplace and images are a great tool to keep your focus daily.
Overall, I know this post isn’t a cure all for your struggles, but I hope it provides guidance to aid in your healing. Remember, times of trial stimulate inner strength from within. I know those of you suffering from an eating disorder are all STRONGER than your disease. You can get through this, you will get through this – and I believe in you.
If you’re in the Boston area and would like coaching for mindful eating, I am always available to help.
Marissa Ranahan – Owner of Karmic Flow.
**Disclaimer – Karmic Flow does not treat or diagnose those with eating disorders. The thoughts of this article are purely based on the opinion of the author through mindfulness training and teaching experience. The article is purely meant to serve as a self help section. If you’re experiencing/suffering from an eating disorder, kindly seek the help of a medical professional.