So I took a trip this week.
I don't often travel for work, but this week I to traveled to Indianapolis for an education conference. Never been to Indianapolis before. I like it a lot. Just wish the Colts were playing.
I definitely would have gone to a game. Dang.
Anyways, as I was sitting in my hotel room watching Sportscenter, I started thinking about clients I have worked with in the past and how difficult going on trips or vacations was for them.
You see, there is such inconsistency when you are away from home.
A different bed, different area, different food expectations (eating out vs cooking in your own kitchen).
All of this kind of throws you off.
For individuals in the early stages of recovery from an eating disorder, such experiences can be particularly difficult. It just shows how important it is to be aware of what triggers might be for you and prepare ahead of time to consider how you will act in those moments.
3 Tips to Face Triggers During Travel
1. IT DOESN'T TAKE A MAGICIAN TO BE A PROPHET.
What in the world does that mean? I mean that predicting the future is a very normal thing, not magical. If you know that you will be experiencing a stressful trip or triggering situation, then consider planning for what you can do to minimize stress in those situations.
I have always taken the approach that if you are in the tentative, early stages of recovery from an eating disorder, then taking "the safe road" when traveling or on vacation is a wise choice. There is no need to face very stressful situations at this tenuous stage of recovery. Create a safety plan that helps you decrease your stress without giving into the eating disorder urges. Its ok. You don't have to be a hero ever day :)
If you are further along in recovery and want to challenge yourself, then sure, go for it. But make sure that you aren't risking your progress for the sake of a challenge. That is too dangerous. Make sense?
2. IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE TRAVELING WITH A FRIEND, LET THEM IN ON THE PLAN.
Given that stress comes when out of your normal environment, if you are on vacation or a trip with a friend and are experiencing eating disorder urges related to this different environment, it may be helpful to reach out to the friend or loved one with you. Again, this assumes that you have the kind of relationship where you can do this.
Meaningful, connected community is a valuable thing.
Having loved ones who care about you is good, but being open and honest with them as well as being able to rely on them for support is great.
3. EVEN WHEN YOU ARE TRAVELING, YOU CAN STILL ACCESS FREE ONLINE SUPPORTS.
Ok, so is this a plug for Recovery Spark? Sure. But hey, any website that is helpful in inspiring you and motivating you in your recovery journey is great... not just Recovery Spark.
One of the best things about the eating disorder recovery community is that they are a giving and caring group. If you have invested in online community supports or even have a few favorite blogs you like to read, engaging in these activities may help you avert a present stressor or trigger.
Thank you for reading and I hope you are able to take something from this post.
The purpose of this blog entry is to share eating disorder recovery related ideas and does not represent professional medical of psychological advice from Mike Thomas or Recovery Spark. For professional advice, please connect with the professional eating disorder specialist that you work with.
Photo credit: @thepacman82 on Instagram.