One of my biggest challenges in recovery was getting to know myself again. Who was I without ED? I knew how to be the “perfect” version of what I thought was myself, but in reality it was a facade. Recovery wasn’t just weight restoration and getting over fear foods- it was getting to know me all over again! Dedicating time towards understanding myself allowed me to not only have a better sense of self when it came to making decisions that reflect me and my values, but also has helped me find effective coping skills and communicate more efficiently in my relationships.
Getting to know yourself again (or just a little better) isn’t and shouldn’t be only for those early in recovery. We are constantly changing and evolving! You don’t meet a friend one time and never ask them a question about themselves ever again, right? The same goes for our relationship with ourselves! Especially now with the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine, a lot of things have changed. Use this time to get to know you! Here are 5 tips:
Reflect on and name your values
Knowing what matters to you is important when making decisions, entering relationships, recovering, and growing overall. If one of your main values is freedom, would you rather take a job with lots of work from home and travel opportunities or one where you’d commit to living in the same spot for a decade? Probably the first one. Not every problem we face in life will be that clean cut, but knowing your values can help you gain confidence in your sense of self and allow you to act on what really matters to you. When we go against our values, it can create internal conflict that can lead to unhealthy behaviors. There are a lot of resources online but to get you started, here is a list that I thought had a pretty good mix of core values to take a look at.
Take a personality test…or 10
This one can feel a bit silly if you aren’t already a Enneagram fanatic, but personality tests can be surprisingly useful! Whenever I take simple tests with only one or two outcomes, I’m usually right down the middle, but more specific tests like the Enneagram or Myers-Briggs were able to pinpoint more precise answers. Personality tests can give you insights on your strengths, weaknesses, communication style, potential talents/hobbies, and are genuinely entertaining to take! If you answer honestly and look into your results, they can be a useful tool. My Enneagram type is a Seven and when I’m stressed, I become a perfectionist in overdrive. I also have a tendency to want to make the “right” decision since I always have lots of ideas and wants- another key quality of a Seven! Knowing this has allowed me to engage in more grounding techniques versus adding on more and more creative endeavors. Obviously you can’t live and die by your personality test results, but these can be used to get to know yourself better.
Try new hobbies and revisit old ones
The summer is a great time to get into your hobbies because, chances are, you have a bit more time on your hands- especially now as we all try and flatten the curve! Between work, school, family, friends, appointments, and daily life activities, it’s easy to get out of touch with our hobbies. Sometimes hobbies also adapt to our situation. I play the piano, for example, but usually this hobby fades when I’m at college. Other times we just lose touch with a passion altogether! Either way, trying new (and old) hobbies are a great way to get to know yourself better. You might find you missed something you used to do and it can now bring more joy to your life, or you’ll find something new that you never thought you’d like so much. Doing things you enjoy doing can not only lead to growth in that hobby/area of your life, but can also be considered self-care.
I always encourage journaling because I truly love it so much and really believe it can be a useful tool. Even if it isn’t a hobby or total passion of yours, journaling is a good way to reflect and learn about yourself. There are many different ways to journal that can be tailored to your personality. Bullet journals allow for more precise drawings and the freedom of expression that comes with a blank page, but there are also awesome prompt-based journals that will do that part of it for you, so all you have to do is reflect and answer. There’s also always a traditional lined notebook if you prefer to write out your own questions, answers, and other thoughts. For prompt journals check out this option with 3000 questions or this journal that has specific list prompts for happiness.
Sometimes knowing and loving yourself can not only be hard, but it can be confusing. Especially if you’ve undergone a big change, it isn’t always easy to jump right back into being “yourself.” The people who understand you and care about you are a great place to start if this is the case. Your sense of self doesn’t always get confused because of a big or bad change, either. Going to college, moving to a new place, becoming a parent, or coming back from a long vacation are all things that can lead to a need to recenter. Think of this as research! Sit down, shoot a text, or pick up the phone and call someone who you feel knows you well and ask them a few questions about how they’d describe you, your strengths, weaknesses, and so on. This can help you figure out what areas of yourself you want to lean into as well as what to do next.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but these tips are good things to do if you’re wanting to get to know yourself better. Eating disorder recovery can challenge and alter your sense of self, making this a really valuable process! Still, recovery isn’t the only reason you may want to know you a little better. Any reason is a good reason and knowing yourself better can help you create goals, find healthy coping mechanisms, communicate more efficiently, and grow in your passions.
Featured photo courtesy of Unsplash
All content on RecovRoad is based on personal experiences, research, and ideas. Please do not repost/share without credit and be aware that nothing on this blog takes the place of professional help. This is also a formal trigger warning: content about and relating to eating disorders may be triggering to survivors. Please see the “RESOURCES” tab, call the National Eating Disorders Association hotline at 800-931-2237, and remember to take care of yourself.