For some reason, this has been an emotionally and physically exhausting week for me. I am feeling the weight of finishing up my last two grad school courses, applying for and interviewing for jobs, working 3 days a week at a job that I’ve been at TEN YEARS today (happy anniversary, me!), and doing 12 hours at my internship. I’m also very involved in my church, so my weekends are full as well.
Of course, who reading this blog does NOT have a busy life? I’m certainly not trying to make myself the exception. But I do know that those of us who live our lives doing doing doing, going going going, and giving giving giving can burn out quickly. And if your response to burnout is over-eating (as mine has been) and yet you’ve made the choice to stay out of B.E.D. and not indulge in that urge to over-eat or binge, you’ve got to have a ready-made list of alternatives to bingeing.
This evening, the last place I wanted to go was the gym. I wanted to go home from work and NUMB OUT. Eating is one way I’ve done that in the past. Instead, I went to the gym because I know that physical exercise is a great alternative to bingeing (at least for me). With every step I took on the treadmill, more endorphins were released. I closed my eyes and went to my “peaceful place”–an imaginary place that I have been slowly crafting in greater and greater detail each time I go there in my mind. My peaceful place is so prominent an image now that I can go there very easily. Visualization is another of my alternative activities.
If you’ve never tried a visualization, I encourage you to do so. When you first start, it helps to be in a quiet place (later you can be surrounded by music and grunting bodies at a gym and still do your visualization!). Find a comfortable position for your body and close your eyes (if you’re okay with that). Take a deep breath in for seven counts, hold it for four counts, and exhale it for eight. Do that two more times. Now, start to build a picture in your mind of your peaceful place. Think about what it would look like, sound like, smell like, feel like. Are there other people or animals with you or are you alone? What are your surroundings? Take some time to begin to create a peaceful place and then “visit” this place again and again when you feel the urge to over-eat. I think you’ll find, as I did, that visualizing a peaceful place can go a long way to restoring your spirit and buoying your mood.
Peace, joy, and health!