I get up everyday and I can’t start my day without putting my IPOD on shuffle and dancing around my crib while I get ready for work. I have often thought that if it were not for music and dance, I would die.

Dancing Carefree Young GirlNo matter what kind of bad day I am having, or what icky things I am going through, a song from Greenday, Madonna, or Lady GaGa can totally flip my mood around. I dance several times a week, and it is an incredible outlet for me. I always say that I dance as if nobody is watching, even if deep inside I know everybody is.

Music and Dance are just two examples of healthy coping mechanisms I use to get me through the hard times. In the past I had a room full of bad coping mechanisms. My eating disorder had helped create all kinds of bad habits, and unhealthy ways of dealing with what was really going on inside. In the past when I was stressed, hurt, lonely, or sad, I would turn to starving myself, binging and purging, over exercising, or prescription pills to numb the pain.

When I decided to finally seek treatment at Rader and kick my eating disorder to the curb, I realized all those bad habits were gonna have to go with it! I suddenly was at a loss for how I was going to deal with whatever pain I was going through. I was then hit with an even bigger curve ball when I got out of treatment and had to deal with all the ups and downs of real life. I had to find healthier ways to deal with my stress when I got a parking ticket, had to pay my electric bill, or got in trouble with my boss.

You have to find what works for you, what can center you, and relieve all that anxiety that you were numbing in the past.  Some people find journaling very helpful, or doing some kind of hobby, and some people have found Yoga, Tai Chi or some other sort of movement class to be very helpful.

I also found volunteering within my community was & is an amazing experience!  Our eating disorders quite honestly make us very selfish, as we are completely absorbed by ourselves and what we are going through. It is great to take a step back and do something else for another person, or individual in need it really takes the focus off of you for awhile.

No matter what though I know how much happier I am to read a good book, rent a great movie, or like I said go confess on the dance floor for awhile! I will tell you this… the possibilities are endless, but if all else fails you can always take off your shoes; turn the volume up, and in the words of Lady GaGa…”Just Dance”!!

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