As the weather turns cold and we start wrapping up warm, our routines and mindset can change.
The darker and shorter days can pull us towards sensations that bring comfort and soothing.
Making peace with this transition can be challenging when we’re used to weather that inspires energy and activity.
At the darker days draw in, some may find it harder to wake up or get out of bed in the morning. Others may find wrapping up warm and eating soothing, comforting food just as nourishing. If you too are feeling the urge to rest and restore over the colder months, remember that this is a normal response to the changing seasons.
Despite what the critical ‘voice’ of the eating disorder may tell you, it is not a lack of willpower.
Routines change in winter
This time of year can be challenging for people living with eating disorders when well-established routines begin to change.
Routines bring with them a degree of predictability, which can help us to feel safe and in control of our day to day. When we have to adapt our routine to suit the weather and shorter daylight hours, our days can feel less predictable – or temporarily up in the air – and this can be hard to tolerate.
If this is something you’re facing, keep in mind that we are cyclical beings who are always changing and adapting, despite our eagerness for routine and ritual.
But routines don’t just exist to make you as productive as possible. Whilst that can be the case, routines also help you to keep your recovery on track in an intuitive and compassionate way.
Consider these winter months as a time for creation. It is an opportunity to create a new routine that suits who you are now and where you are in your recovery journey.
The team here at Orri have devised some top tips for establishing a new routine this winter. Here’s what we recommend:
1. Think about what brings you joy and what drains your energy
Consider how you start your day: if reading the news or scrolling through social media doesn’t fill you with joy, then maybe find another way to welcome in a new day. Instead, start your day with an activity that will nourish your soul. Perhaps you can list your recovery intentions for the day, write a gratitude list, or listen to an energising podcast that reflects the mindset you’d like to adopt for the day.
2. Consider how much time you need in the mornings before you start your day
Build time into your routine for you. Give yourself enough time to start your day off right, without rushing. Building time for self care into your routine will ensure that you do indeed get that time for yourself.
3. Connect and ground yourself during the day
Set reminders on your phone, prompting you to pause and notice your breathing and posture. During this time, reflect on the emotions you’re feeling, and the sensations happening in your body. Breathe deep into your belly (or focus on your diaphram moving down to let air in).
4. Consider daily responsibilities
If you have day-to-day obligations, such as school, work or household chores, think about how these might affect your emotions. If you know you have a busy day, don’t over-schedule yourself with lots to do, and give yourself a few moments throughout the day to take time out. You can even make a note for when certain activities might spike your nervous system and stress response, and input time to de-escalate compassionately.
5. Give yourself enough time to sleep
The reduction in daylight hours can change your body clock and you may find yourself wanting to sleep more. If that is the case for you, that is okay! Just remember to give yourself enough time to get the rest you need.
6. Make time for fun!
The point of a routine is not to make you as productive or as busy as you possibly can be, it’s to keep your recovery on track. It’s important to make sure you give yourself downtime, so that we avoid burn out.