I went on a holiday. An actual holiday. I woke up when I wanted to. I fell asleep when I wanted to. I travelled exactly where I wanted to and when I wanted to.
It was absolute bliss.
I’m unfortunately the type of person who struggles to relax. When I am in a state of relaxation or calm my brain tends to buzz with all the things I could be doing. This is often when my negative self talk starts, telling me I am lazy or unworthy or relaxation. A voice telling me I should be more productive. I am training myself to change this negative behaviour because relaxation and a bit of self-indulgence (i.e. a holiday) isn’t just okay it’s IMPORTANT for your health and wellbeing.
This holiday was primarily to celebrate my partner’s 21st birthday. He loves basketball so I bought us tickets to watch the Australian Boomers play. We took a few days either side of the match to have a holiday in an unfamiliar city together. We would explore, travel and experience an different way of life. The city was Melbourne.
I learnt so much on this holiday, about myself and about our relationship. It was so satisying to see the glimmer in my partner’s eyes when we took our seats at the famous Rod Laver Arena. It was gratifying to watch him jump out of his seat in excitement when a player dunked the basketball, or when Australia hit a 3 pointer. He was in his most natural, content and joyful state. He was truly happy to be there. I felt priveleged to see this side of him and to be a part of an event that gave him so much happiness. This could not have been possible without taking a holiday. The holiday would not have been possible without recovery.
I also learnt more about my healthy self and why it is important to continue recovery. We sat down for lunch in the city early one afternoon. We finally decided on a place and sat down. I looked at the menu and was automatically drawn to what was “safe”, to what my ED wanted me to choose. I noticed this reaction and in that moment decided that I would fight the urge to choose safety. I would choose what my body really desired and what I knew would be challenging but worth it.
I ordered “The Boss” burger with thick cut chips.
It was delicious and exactly what my body needed that day in that moment. The response I received from my partner still makes me smile. He was ecstatic. Not only that I had chosen a burger and fries which were “fear” foods but because I had chosen to listen to my body and fight the ED.
I allowed myself the opportunity to relax. I allowed myself a pleasurable experience. I allowed myself to feel the challenge and push through. None of this would have been possible without the holiday. The holiday would not have been possible without recovery.
Often my greatest achievements have arisen from my greatest challenges. It was not easy to achieve my final school results. Those final exams were, at that moment, the greatest challenge I had faced. If I had just given up or hadn’t allowed myself the opportunity to embrace the challenge and relax into my own rhythm it would not have been possible. My recovery has been and will probably always be my greatest challenge in life. Every small obstacle that is over come makes the greater obstacle easier to face. So it is crucial, when recovering and learning to love yourself, to relax and embrace pleasure.