Therapeutic Tid Bit of the Month
When February rolls around there is a certain amount of vulnerability that many people may experience. The January resolutions some folks have made to drastically change their eating and exercise regimes, may have tapered off or come to a screeching halt as the reality of putting some of this unattainable unrealistic goals into action hits home. Instead of questioning the soundness of the resolutions themselves, we tend to blame ourselves for not being competent enough to follow through. The self-blame is toxic and may manifest in feelings of depression, helplessness, and a resurgence of disordered eating behaviors. In addition, Valentines Day, a day that should be about love and caring, is often about feeling left out or lonely which adds fuel to the negative thoughts that may be monopolizing our minds. It is essential to make a concerted effort to befriend yourself and practice self-acceptance and forgiveness. I know. Easier said than done! One strategy is to consider treating yourself the way you treat the other people you value in your life. How would you bolster up a friend who is struggling with these kinds of feelings? What would you say to them? What would you do for them? You deserve to be loved as much as anyone else in your life. You Are Important!
Activity: Handle with Care
Objective: To identify potential ways that you may be feeling fragile or vulnerable during the month of February and identify at least one way you will protect yourself.
Materials: A glass jar with a lid, colored paper, markers, scissors, clear adhesive tape. Optional: magazines and glue sticks.
- Sit quietly and think of the upcoming month. Are there any occasions that may arise where you could find yourself feeling fragile or vulnerable? Why do you predict that you may feel that way?
- With your art supplies create a heart, or something that represents your core, that you want to protect and place it inside the jar.
- Now using paper and markers or magazine pictures, choose some ways that you will protect yourself from being hurt either by your own critical judgmental thoughts or by external situations. Your protection can be positive affirmations, names of friends you can turn to during difficult times, engaging in an activity that cheers you up or allows you to feel successful and loved.
- Place these items around your heart either by placing them inside the jar and or taping them on to the outside of the jar.
Special Note: I never show samples of completed Proactivities℠ because I feel that comparisons can stifle the creative process and there is no right or wrong way to “make art.”
This expressive arts directive is from contributing 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.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shewatchedthesky/