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Three Tips for Caregivers when an Eating Disorder Steals your Loved One’s Smile

Becky Henry Headshot BLHWebsite[1]Becky Henry​ is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and uses those skills to guide families to let go of fear and panic, learn self-care skills and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this week’s post, Becky discusses coping with not seeing your loved-one smile during their eating disorder.

Seeing our new baby smile is a milestone that gets recorded in baby books. It gives us great joy to see our friends and family smile throughout our lives. A smile is understood across all languages and cultures. We can feel happy simply by seeing someone smile.

One of the things that “Ed” or eating disorders often takes away from caregivers is seeing our loved one smile. This only adds to our sadness and grief from all of the things “ed” continues to steal from our loved ones and US!

I personally experienced this incredibly sad and heartbreaking situation of not seeing my child in the throes of eating disorders not smile for months on end. The pain in my chest was so visceral that I would occasionally look down to see how big the hole was in my chest. It literally felt like there was a hole in my flesh over my heart the size of a salad plate!

This was before I learned about SELF-CARE. And those who know me know I am constantly encouraging self-care as it helps us fill our constantly draining cups. It also helps alleviate our distress and helps us be able to tolerate out child’s distress.

In a nutshell my three tips for caregivers are:

  1. Practice Self-care
  2. Learn Distress Tolerance skills
  3. Consciously Choose your Perspective

These are all obviously easier said than done. They take learning, support, practice and accountability. When we are suffering so immensely it can be hard to think of what to do and how to do it.

Here is a cheat sheet to print and have ready every day. And if you decide to get some support and accountability to do these things, considering either group coaching or 1:1 coaching. You can read about these options on my website.

  1. Practicing self-care can be as simple as making a list of things you enjoy and doing 1 every day. It can be much more as well.
  2. Learning distress tolerance skills can help with your distress and with tolerating your loved-one’s distress. Both are essential. This can be some simple 4-7-8 breathing.

Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and breathe out for 8. I have many

breathing and meditation videos on my YouTube Channel.
3. Consciously choosing our perspective can be easy or hard. When we have someone

helping us it is MUCH easier. I remember saying to myself, “When I’m sad, “ed” wins. When I’m happy, I and my family win.” And that helped me.

Which tips will you implement today? If you want to try coaching, give me a call or send and email and set up a free 30 minute consultation.

Your loved one needs you to have your cup filled up. This is NOT selfish, it’s essential.


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