January can be a time for people to experience an enormous amount of pressure to drastically change themselves. Cloaked in the culturally accepted paradigm of New Year’s Resolutions, this is a precarious time for people struggling with body image issues and eating disorders. Food is not the Scrooge! Many of us fear food during the holidays and then for New Years we punish ourselves by restricting. Please be kind to yourself and remember that restrictive dieting leads to weight cycling. Instead of focusing on the things we hate about our bodies try some gratitude exercises and resolve to appreciate all that your wonderful body is doing.
January 19-23 is Healthy Weight Week that celebrates the premise that people come in a diverse spectrum of weights, sizes, and shapes and health can not be defined by a number on the scale.
Activity: What’s Your Sign?
Objective: January is a time when we may feel compelled to make drastic changes in order to radically change our bodies to please others or live up to societal expectations. This directive allows us to choose a positive direction based on self-acceptance and appreciation for ourselves. It re-establishes a sense of control without punishment or self-destructive or sure-to-fail New Year’s resolutions.
Materials: Poster board, scissors, markers.
- Take a moment and think of all of the road signs you have seen and choose one that describes a positive direction you would like to go towards. You can change the wording to something that is more specific to you.
- Decide on the shape you want your sign to be and then cut the poster board into that shape.
- Using your markers, create your personal road sign and on the back write down a detailed explanation of where or what the sign is directing you or someone else to go or do.
This expressive arts directive is from contributing guest author Dr. Deah Schwartz. Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares a therapeutic expressive arts activity or idea to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Some of these activities may need to be facilitated over more than one session, or modified for different ability levels, size of group, budget and size of work space. These directives may be used in individual or group therapy sessions or as self-help activities. Sometimes the activity itself is nothing new or brilliant but the OBJECTIVE of the directive is unique and specifically tailored to exploring issues related to body image and disordered eating. ENJOY! Fun is the main ingredient! You can learn more about eating disorder therapy here.