I am going to be writing posts on Tuesday under the title Trigger Tuesday.
In the each post, I will talk about a specific trigger and what has helped me overcome each one.
A trigger is something that affects someone in an emotional way causing them to want to act on a bad behavior. The term is used for eating disorders, PTSD, drug addiction, self-harm, depression etc.
Triggers are different for every individual and I will only be posting about the one’s that affect me personally. Some may be relatable and others not. Like I said everyone’s triggers are unique.
Today I will be talking about a very challenging trigger for yours truly and that is shopping.
Shopping is a popular pastime for most Americans. I don’t know about you guys, but somehow, I always end up getting asked to go shopping with my friends on the weekends. I feel obligated to go and besides, I want to hang out with my friends.
Most people enjoy shopping, but for those with body image issues shopping can be a difficult task.
Shopping is a huge trigger for me and most with eating disorders. Next to looking at your body in the mirror, examining sizes, clothes that are too small or too big and comparing yourself to the rest of the people in the store, it can be overwhelming.
Throughout my time in recovery, I have learned how to make shopping a little less stressful and not allow it to trigger me to act on my eating disorder behaviors.
I have compiled a list of helpful tips from my personal experience that help to decrease anxiety during a shopping trip so, that it is less likely that I act on behaviors.
The Dreaded Mirror:
- turn around while changing (so you don’t critique and over-analyze your body)
- bring some Positive Affirmations with you into the dressing room (write them on a notecard in pretty colors and have them available for you to look at)
- bring a dry erase marker with you and write Positive Affirmations on the mirror (and erase them with a tissue after)
- I don’t know if you have seen the movie Aquamarine about the teenage mermaid, but Positive Affirmations are like similar to what the starfish earrings, the mermaid gives to the two main characters, say.
- Here are some examples:
- “I love my body and my body loves me.”
- “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
- “You are beautiful inside and out.”
- “I accept myself as I am.”
- “You are beautiful the way you are.”
- “Nourishing my body gives me the energy to do the things I love.”
- “You are more than a number.”
- just don’t look in the mirror period (focus on how the clothes feel on your body)
What Number Are You? (Sizes)
- grab a couple of sizes around what you think you should be (I recommend three whether they are done by XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL OR 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18)
- try on the largest size first (in the long run it shouldn’t matter what size you are, but when I first began recovery, it felt better for me to go from a larger to a smaller size than from a smaller to a larger one)
- don’t look at the sizes at all (this can be hard so that is why I recommend using the others before you try this one)
- brings Positive Affirmations with you and look at them anytime you want while shopping (it doesn’t have to be just in the dressing room)
- have someone supportive shop with you (whether that is a nonjudgmental friend, a mentor, or a family member you enjoy being with)
- bring your journal (FYI: I have done this before and I know it can be hard to carry around unless you have a large but it is an option and you can always journal before or after the trip)
- process the trip with your therapist before and after (before the trip, talk about where you are going and what certain skills you can use and after the trip, talk about how it went: what your triggers were, how you dealt with them, and what you can do better next time)
- listen to your recovery playlist (while on your way there in your car)
- pay attention to the person you’re with and the conversation and don’t focus so much on your appearance (just HAVE FUN!)
And Always Remember:
Try to enjoy your next shopping trip. I hope my tips can help you as much as they help me.