Developing a Stress Management PlanAll of us encounter stressful situations from time to time. There is not much we can do to avoid it—but what we can do is make sure we are ready. When stress ambushes us, catching us off guard and pulling the rug out from under us, it can cause us to react poorly, unhealthily. For those with an eating disorder, it might even trigger relapse. When we have a stress management plan in place, though, it empowers us to respond to stressors more thoughtfully and constructively. Taking the time to formulate a stress management plan is a key part of the recovery process, then, and a capstone of your relapse prevention. Some general tips for building a stress management plan:
- Identify some of the situations or people most likely to cause stress. Make note of what some of your common “triggers” are.
- Think about what you can do to minimize or avoid these stressors as best you can—including severing toxic relationships.
- Have some people you can talk to about the things in life that are stressing you out. Know who your support structure is; if you don’t have one, get one!
- Have some activities you can turn to in order to burn off stress and frustration. Exercising, journaling and creative expression are good options.
- Know your “happy place”—a physical environment you can retreat to in order to recharge your batteries.
- Make sure you keep attending meetings with your therapist, dietitian, and support group—even during times when you may not feel like you “need” it.