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This article comes from EDV’s Recovery Newsletter, Sending Hope, and provides subscribers with recovery support directly to their inbox. To subscribe to this newsletter, please see here.

Why setting time in your diary for things that make you feel good is important in recovery.

Hey there,

I’m Rosie, one of the Telehealth Counsellors at EDV 😊

Today I wanted to share a helpful strategy with you called Pleasant Activity Scheduling. While supporting people in recovery, I’ve noticed that low mood and anxiety are really common co-experiences with eating disorders. If this sounds like you and you’re feeling a bit stuck with how to shift your state of being, read along with me!

📅📈 Pleasant Activity Scheduling is a way to get strategic with your mood and anxiety levels. It involves looking at the week ahead and scheduling in activities that bring you joy, ease or pleasure, just like you would schedule in appointments, work or other commitments.

Creating space for these activities can not only help lift your mood and energy levels, and reduce stress and anxiety, but they can also help you explore who you are beyond the eating disorder. You might like to think of it as identity building time where you can explore different parts of yourself.

In a moment I’m going to guide you through 4 steps and offer some helpful tips to get started. Before we get there, I just want to say that Pleasant Activity Scheduling will look and feel different for everyone. For some people, introducing pleasant activities will feel really challenging to try, and that’s OK. For other people, it might sound great in theory but be difficult to follow through. I believe that you are an expert in your experience and encourage you to go at your own pace and be kind to yourself if things don’t go to plan.

Step 1: Identify activities you enjoy

Create a list in your phone or in a journal that you can add to over time. Think of activities that help fill up your cup!

Some ideas 📓🌼☕️🎭 🩰🎨🎬

  • Journaling
  • Playing a game
  • Dancing in your bedroom
  • Putting on a face mask
  • Going for a morning walk
  • Visiting a museum
  • Watching a movie
  • Working on an art project
  • Going to a comedy show
  • Catching up with a friend
  • Gardening
  • Doing a guided meditation
  • Cooking a new meal
  • Going to an art class
  • Reading a book
  • A date with a loved one
  • Painting your nails
  • Having a bath
  • Going to a yoga class
  • Taking the dog for a walk
  • Calling a friend
  • Going to a cafe

Step 2: Look at the week ahead

Where do you have open space? When would you like to do something nice for yourself? When would it be most helpful to schedule a pleasant activity? For example, an activity in the morning could help lift your energy for the day ahead. An activity in the evening could help you wind down for a better sleep. An activity on the weekend could give you space to explore yourself.

Step 3: Schedule in pleasant activities

Use your list of ideas to schedule a few pleasant activities throughout the week. If this feels overwhelming, you might begin with scheduling one activity.

Step 4: Check in with how you feel

A simple check-in before and after activities can help build awareness of what helps you feel uplifted, relaxed, and what you enjoy. You could use a rating from 0 – 10 of your mood or anxiety, or you could write down the emotions you feel before and after.

➡️ Helpful Tip: Try Savouring 😌

Savouring is a practice of feeling into and expanding moments of pleasure. When we Savour an activity, we lean in to the moment and give it our full presence. By doing so, we can be more present and strengthen our ability to experience positive feelings. If your mind is trying to draw you away to other things, remind yourself that this time for you is valuable and purposeful.

➡️ Helpful Tip: Less is More 

Remember that sometimes less is more! You might like to schedule in one activity in your week that you really enjoy. You could choose an activity that takes 5 minutes or savour something that’s already in your day (like a warm shower, a deep breath or cuddling a pet). Pleasant Activity Scheduling is not about overwhelming your schedule, but about creating more space for you.

Thanks for reading along and I hope there was something helpful in there for you 💚

Rosie.

Remember, if you need to talk to someone, EDV has a range of helpful services available. For general information and support, please give our Hub a call during business hours on 1300 550 236, fill out an online form, or email hub@eatingdisorders.org.au

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