20 Powerful Recovery Lessons from 2020
The year 2020 has been filled with countless challenges, obstacles, and opportunities for inner growth. Let’s be real, I don’t think any of us ever thought we would be living through a global pandemic! This past year has been hard. No doubt about it. I have learned a lot about myself and those around me. What helped me stay afloat were the lessons that I learned from my eating disorder recovery journey. These lessons have been invaluable, especially as I build a business as a life and recovery coach.
Recovery has made me a stronger person in all areas of life. Even if you do not struggle with an eating disorder, know that these lessons can be applied in a lot of different ways. I am excited to share my insights with all of you!
- You are not broken. This year has been tough. The COVID-19 pandemic presented a global collective trauma that triggered a lot of emotions. You may have felt broken at times and that is OK. We live in a toxic society with a lot of mixed messaging about how we are “supposed” to be. Please remember that there is something wrong with the system. There is nothing wrong with you. You are whole and complete exactly as you are.
- It is OK and necessary to feel all emotions. I hear so much of, “just be grateful,” “think positive thoughts,” “it will be fine…”. When we avoid feeling discomfort, our bodies hold onto the pain. This often leads to more anxiety, burnout, and fatigue. This year was stressful. You are allowed to express anger, grief and frustration without judgement.
- There is power in groups. Healing happens in community. When we allow our vulnerabilities to be witnessed and validated by those who we trust, we are able to let go of shame. There is tremendous power in healing together as a collective.
- Healing requires immense support and accountability. Recovery is hard. It takes a lot of support and accountability. It is OK to ask for help. We are not meant to do this work on our own, especially during a pandemic. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
- Money is your friend. Investing in myself and my healing journey was one of the best decisions that I ever made. It is important to prioritize the resources that will lead you to a greater quality of life. Be picky when it comes to recovery. There are many resources available to help you find support based on your financial ability.
- Protect your energy and honor your capacity. There is a lot of pain in the world and many of us feel inclined to be of service. It is important to remember that we cannot pour from an empty cup. It is critical to take care of our needs before taking care of others. Make it a habit to check in with your body and to monitor where your mental capacity is at daily.
- You are worthy of receiving. In order to give, you have to be able to receive. You give so much more to the world when you allow yourself to receive from others. Receiving can be physical, emotional, and/or energetic. Sometimes a short phone conversation with a friend or stepping outside for some fresh air can uplift your energy for the day. Only pour from overflow!
- Allow time for play! We live in a society that is fixated on productivity and accomplishments. Many of us are uncomfortable with free time. I have found that play allows me to connect with my desires and the little joys in life. It has allowed me to re-energize. Playing is just as important as working!
- Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! Honor your YES and your NO. When you say no, you create space for what you truly want to be experiencing. It is OK to put yourself first, even during a global pandemic. Other people may try to take advantage of your boundaries. Remember that you know yourself best and that it is your responsibility to uphold them!
- Recovery doesn’t have a timeline. Recovery doesn’t have a speed or a pace. It looks different on different people. The load has been heavier this past year. I personally love the phrase, “comparison is the thief of joy.” It is very true! Your journey is uniquely yours. Stop comparing yourself to others. We are much more powerful when we work together! The high tide raises all boats.
- Strive for 1% improvement everyday. Recovery can be frustrating! It may feel like you aren’t making any progress. As a coach, I use a paradigm “small hinges swing big doors.” We often forget that sometimes the smallest changes can lead to massive results down the line. Too much change at once can actually re-traumatize our system. So, 1% improvement is more than enough. During a global pandemic, we can make that .01%!
- You are not defined by numbers. When COVID first fit, I found myself back on the scale. I quickly realized that I was looking for validation (from my weight) in a world that felt so chaotic and out of control. We have been conditioned to look for validation in numbers–whether it be pounds, grades, calories, GPA, dollars, etc. I have found that numbers kept me disconnected from my body and fueled my eating disorder. When I shifted my attention from numbers to my body’s inner cues, I was able to access great wisdom and clarity.
- Setbacks set you forward. One of the best pieces of advice that I got from my therapist was, “it’s all information. There is no good or bad or wrong or right…. it’s just information.” When using behaviors, instead of beating myself up, I looked for the lesson. We either win or we learn. Oftentimes, the learning is more powerful than the winning.
- Lead with values NOT validation. As a recovering codependent and people pleaser, I was the first person to measure my success by other people’s thoughts, opinions, and actions. It left me feeling burnt out and exhausted. It is impossible to please everyone. When you lead with values such as love, integrity, kindness, and compassion you set an example for how you want to be. You give permission for others to do the same.
- Celebrate everything. There is no act too big or too small. We have been taught that celebrating is bragging. That isn’t true! There is so much to celebrate and you should be proud of your accomplishments. Celebration creates more energy to keep moving forward. It is also extremely important to find joy in the journey.
- Healing the world begins with you. When we show up for ourselves and we prioritize our well-being, it creates a ripple effect to those around us. Other people feel our energy and learn from our breakthroughs. My mentor often refers to this as collective acupuncture. As I heal, you heal too! Right now, the world desperately needs to heal.
- Start asking yourself, how good can it get? Instead of fixating on who has it the worst or how much more you could be doing…start asking yourself, how good can it get? Empathy is not a scarce resource. We are all entitled to a beautiful life.
- Your voice matters. You have power. The world needs you. Do not underestimate the power of your voice. You may not be able to find it underneath all the eating disorder thoughts and feelings. I promise that it is there and that the world needs to hear it.
- Follow your heart and trust your body. It took me a long time to really tune into my intuition and to trust myself. I always had voices in my head questioning my desires and my decisions. Trusting yourself and your voice won’t happen overnight; it gets easier with time. When you lead from the heart space, the universe will ALWAYS have your back.
- Loving yourself is a revolutionary act. Loving myself and practicing radical self compassion has been the key to my success. However, if it were that easy, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post! We live in a world that has conditioned us to be a certain way and fit a certain image. Daring to love yourself is part of a revolution!
Jocelyn Resnick (she/her) earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) from the George Washington University. She is a certified health education specialist (CHES) and a life and recovery coach. Jocelyn is passionate about helping mission driven women heal their relationship with food and their bodies so that they can create a meaningful impact on the world. To learn more, visit www.jocelynresnick.com or follow jocelyn_resnick on Instagram.