Hello and happy first Friday in June!
The Potentia team has transitioned into our summer schedule which is full of vacations, sun, and fun while continuing to serve our community by treating the whole person and the whole spectrum of mental health and wellness issues.
As many of our long-time friends know, one of the areas we offer specialized support is in the treatment of the eating disorder spectrum.
Today I am adding to the voices talking about World Eating Disorder Action Day – which was yesterday but better late than never!
I know when I write or talk about eating disorders, many say this issue is not important to them because it does not impact their life.
I ever so gently want nudge that sentiment to say that this issue – the most deadly of all mental health struggles – is an issue for us all.
In fact, this is a leadership issue and your voice and action is needed.
It is time to take action and create space to have a different conversation about food, health, bodies, worthiness, strength and success.
Many are secretly struggling with self-loathing, anxiety, fear and shame around how you feed, move, dress, rest and talk to your body. This may not present as a clinical eating disorder though the distress is still significant.
We live in a culture where it is acceptable – and often encouraged – to critique how people look, eat, dress, and live. Our bodies, which are both personal and private, are often not respected in search of control, status, belonging and relief.
Shaming self and others destroys souls and never leads to sustained change or healing.
And this is where you come in on this call to action.
Even if eating disorders do seem like they not impact you, taking some subtle yet powerful actions to help create more safe spaces to talk about what it means to be well, what it is like to struggle with depression, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, recovering from trauma, neglect, loneliness and hopelessness can make a profound difference.
Genetics, family of origin and difficult like experiences play a role in how we all navigate what it means to be well. The media we consume, our social, professional and faith communities all have a powerful influence on our lives, too.
Would you consider taking action on any of the following areas? These may seem like small gestures or actions. Do not underestimate the power of making a small change.
- Discourage negative body talk or shaming at your home, school, place of worship and.or work.
- Affirm people based on their character not their looks or physical accomplishments.
- Edit your consumption of media (tv, social media, magazines, etc) or even consider taking a media fast for a week.
- Learn about orthorexia and how the obsession to eat healthy is really masking serious disordered eating, anxiety and other serious struggles.
- Read this series I wrote for Darling Magazine on the myths and meanings of eating disorders.
- Make a commitment to learn more about what it means to feed well, move well, rest well and talk with your body well. Dr. Megan Holt is an excellence resource for in-person or online health + wellness consultations.
- Stop dieting and extreme ways of feeding and pursue a practice of intuitive and mindful eating.
- If there is someone in your circle of influence you think may be struggling on the disordered eating spectrum, dare to have a courageous conversation with him/her – stating your love, your concern and your suggested resources.
- Commit to making the dinner table and home a place where food is discussed neutrally and is a means for fuel and medicine and enjoyment – not to be a source of obsession or fear.
What would you add to this list?
How do you plan to take action in your circle of influence?
With gratitude –
PS – Make sure to check out our Summer Mental Health Camp offerings throughout the summer!