I spotted this on my walk today:
An excerpt from a poem by Rilke: Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Seeing this made me want to write you. So many are struggling right now. Prolonged uncertainty, stress, disconnection, and an uptick in diet talk can understandably exacerbate food and body worries and possibly trigger old ways of coping and surviving.
I want to share some resources that may be helpful. Perhaps one or more of these may be worth exploring for you?
Bad Body Day Toolkit from Be Nourished: Not covid-specific but incredibly relevant. This is one of my most shared resources for clients. Hilary Kinavey and Dana Sturtevant write, “We are socialized to ignore, suppress, or numb our feelings, especially the uncomfortable, messy or ‘unacceptable’ ones. Living in a culture that reinforces weight stigma at every turn teaches us that we can and should control the size of our bodies and that failure to do so is a sign of weakness or poor character. Participating in diet culture changes our relationship with ourselves, our bodies, and food, and over time we lose access to the language to describe our emotional world and adopt the language of food and fat. So when uncomfortable feelings arise, our body becomes the scapegoat. Instead of feeling angry, we scrutinize our body. Instead of feeling anxious about the big deadline at work, we feel more body shame. Instead of feeling sad because we had a terrible fight with our partner, we think about a plan to change our body…We can do this very differently.”
Understanding How Trauma Impacts Eating Can Help Us Cope With The Covid-19 Crisis from the wise Lucy Aphramor, PhD, RD. “What we need from food and eating to support wellbeing in times of crisis is what we always need. First, safety.”
Stress Eating Is Life-Affirming And Can Help Us In Troubled Times, another good one from Aphramor: “It’s ok to use food to get through. If eating like this, or other things you do, are a source of distress, how about we talk about expanding your options? Having a longer Comfort Menu to turn to can mean you’ve still got comfort eating and you’ve got more than comfort eating. Creating more choices can also mean fewer painful emotions to cope with, as you’re beating yourself up for how you cope less often.
So there’s food as number one on the list, and what else? Including things that enable us to express a range of emotional states and bring in our sensory selves is generally helpful: say a shower with lotions and potions, watch a weepy film, listen to a comedian on youtube, cuddle the cat, schedule a video call with a friend . . .
Let’s divest from the idea that our worth is in any way linked to what we eat or earn or weigh or wear or owe or look like and instead sanctify the knowledge that we are all deserving of love and worthy of respect.”
The Challenge of Feeding Kids During Coronavirus: NYT article from HAES writer Virginia Sole-Smith to help reassure parents
Grieving the Losses of Coronavirus: Therapist Lori Gottlieb puts to words what so many of us are feeling. I’m reminded of the simple power of “name it to tame it” as neuropsychiatrist Dan Siegel, MD likes to say, and Gottlieb names it well.
Brene Brown’s new podcast Unlocking Us: Check out this episode on “comparative suffering.” I appreciated hearing about her “family gap plan” and the reminder that empathy is infinite. (The episode “Grief and Finding Meaning” with researcher David Kessler is also excellent.)
Renowned therapist Esther Perel has a free 4-part series The Art of Us: Love, Loss, Loneliness, and a Pinch of Humor Under Lockdown. Part 1 and part 2 are out now. I can listen to this woman talk all day. She also gave a great interview on a podcast recently for ideas on coping. I plan on stealing her virtual movie club idea (get a group together, take turns picking a movie and meet on Zoom to discuss).
Your therapist. And possibly HAES dietitian. Many providers are offering telehealth now. Please do reach out if you need support. This is the time for all of us to lean on each other.
Also spotted on my walk today: cherry blossoms. The sun. Blue skies. And signs of spring everywhere.