New Year, and actually this time, it is New me.

Trigger Warning. Blog post contains mentions of Eating Disorders and Anxiety. 

Hello, hello! Happy New Year! Yes I am aware it’s February, but I’m also aware that January was a VERY tough one and I needed some time. And by the end of this post I think you’ll see why. Sometimes when things are too hard to say out loud, writing them down can be just as helpful. I said to myself in December, in the new year I will put everything into my blog, have me time again, enjoy writing, but honestly, lockdown three, it’s taken it out of me. I was hoping and praying that lockdowns would be the thing of 2020 but with covid taking control, here we are again! 

Stay home, stay safe. Fine I thought, we know what’s happening, we know what this means but this time it feels harder. January is always a little deflating anyway, with Christmas just gone, and the darker days with less hours of daylight, but not being able to pop for a chat and a cuppa with your friends or take a break and have a date night out. It’s harder. The first lockdown, although we were shielding for Parker, we were all home. We were all getting through it together, there was a helping hand from Paul with the school work, there was the sun and there was a lot of hope that this would all be over by summer. And although a lot changed from leaving my job, starting a new one and just getting by, it was okay. It wasn’t easy but it was okay. By the time lockdown two came around I have to admit was a little fed up, with all the tier systems, not being able to work, Parker being at school and Paul being at work. It felt harder. I felt alone, very alone, very anxious and it all felt like it was a lot. 

I spoke about lockdown two on my Instagram stories, how lonely it was. How I struggled feeling like everyone was carrying on but me, as well as everyone else in retail and hospitality. I met up one to one with friends on socially distanced walks but it wasn’t the same. Throughout lockdown last year there was something I struggled through and I’m only really sharing it now, as towards the end of last year I mentioned it to Paul and I decided to say no more, and take a bit more control, and that’s binge eating. I’m not sure you ever really leave behind disordered eating fully. I’ve always had a tricky relationship with food, from fad diets, to extreme dieting, to restricting then binging, to overcoming bulimia. I’ve learnt that I need to try and manage triggers better, like someone commenting on my size or what I’m eating or how much. Or changes in life, change can be triggering. The triggers can be hard but I’m starting to know what I need to do now. At the height of my eating disorder when I was younger I was bulimic, a vicious cycle of starving, then binging, being ill after and feeling an overwhelming amount of guilt.

Being at home alone in lockdown two really brought on the comfort eating, and that to start with was fine, we all need a cuppa and a biscuit sometimes, but the comfort eating soon turned into binging. Those feelings from the past crept back. I felt the starving coming on, the restricting, followed by the binging. Feeling sad, feeling so alone, feeling so anxious constantly meant I was using food as more than a comfort, it felt like it was the only thing I could control but at the same time I was so out of control. But it wasn’t just once a week or once a month like it has been for a while, it was daily, but mainly on the days I didn’t see anyone all day until Paul and Parker were home, and I soon realised I needed to stop. Only once I turned back to my bulimic habits and that’s when I knew. I knew it had to stop before it became too much, and I felt like 2021 would be the year for change, the fresh page I needed. I always say new year, same me, but this year I needed change. I needed to help me, I needed the new me attitude, for my mental being, not physical. I love my body, the way I look, I’m very comfortable physically. But mentally I need change. I needed to change the habits and try to help myself. And I’m getting there, I’ve reached out and I can hand on heart say I have not binged this year and that feeling is wonderful, I feel a little more me, more in control, and more happy knowing I’m one step further away from the disordered eating that once took over my life. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt it so right to take the time today, to have a bath and to put all my thoughts and feelings and emotions down. 

So I’m learning. Instead of turning to these habits when I feel alone, or stressed or anxious I’m learning to control it in other ways. Taking small steps to ensure I don’t need to look back. I have reached out and looked up to others who are managing it, who have overcome it, read up about intuitive eating, read up on how to build a healthy relationship with food. Not restricting anything and just allowing myself to enjoy food. Not to use it as a coping mechanism. I decided that instead of sitting in and feeling sad and eating until I feel ill, I would break up the day a bit, go on long walks, pop a load of washing on, have a bit of a clean, enjoy a coffee out of the house. Have conversations with loved ones. And honestly homeschooling again has kept me busy, although a little draining at times, having Parker home for company has been lovely, even though I wish Paul was here to share the homeschooling load too! January was hard, long days of sitting in front of a screen trying to focus and trying to teach Parker it also gave me the distraction and the focus I think I needed to take control again. I don’t know how long this lockdown will last but again I feel hope. With the vaccine and covid cases going down again I hope the end of this is near. I’ve set myself monthly achievable goals that are small and can help me feel more me again in this tough time. So I thought I’d share them. 

Focus on the good. When you feel like you’re losing control remember how far you’ve come. Remember you don’t have to turn to food to feel better. Know that you can have a piece of cake or a packet of crisps and it’s okay, it doesn’t need to turn into a binge. Know that a bath, a long walk or a call to a friend can make you feel just as good.

Look ahead, know better days are coming. Think of all the exciting things you’ll be able to do again, see family, even if it’s from a distance for a while. Enjoy the sun, summer’s coming even if it’s just in the garden or on a walk, the warm days will be here soon.

Visits to the coast hopefully, sea swimming is my favourite thing to do when we go back to Wales and I can’t wait. 

Celebrate everything, and I mean everything. Celebrate the small things, picking up a gorgeous bunch of flowers on the weekly essentials shop, FaceTiming loved ones, we’re so lucky to have FaceTime right now. Celebrating date nights in, and achievements in school, going up a to the next reading level. 

Take time for you. Take that bath at the end of the day, sit and have a cup of tea and watch Neighbours. Meet for that socially distanced walk with your friend, go for a run, run like everything’s normal for five minutes. Enjoy nature, getting a National Trust membership was the best thing we did last year. 

Write more. When I write I feel a massive weight lifted off my shoulders, I feel like I’ve written it all down so it’s no longer causing rattling round my brain. I know writing about how much I struggled in lockdown two with my binge eating has been a massive relief. I feel like it’s not some big secret that I’ve struggled with alone. 

So here I am! I’m back again, and with all the pressure of January gone and my mind in a much better place I know I have so much to look forward to, that’s what I’m going to keep doing! I read somewhere recently that said after the storm comes the rainbow, and although things seem really hard right now, better, brighter days are coming, just keep looking out for that rainbow and keep safe. X

And if you too feel like you need to reach out and feel as though you are struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety or you’re just really not feeling okay please see a list of charities below that are there to help you. Sometimes it can help speaking to someone anonymously. It’s okay not to be okay, but there are people here to support and help you.

Beat Eating Disorder Help

0808 801 0677

Mind

0300 123 3393

The Samaritans

116 123

For further help Mind has a great resources page listing various charities and helplines for different needs.

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/eating-problems/useful-contacts/

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