Topic Tuesday: Control

“Control” (By: Micah Parrish)

There is no denying that everyone on the globe is currently living in some sort of uncertainty right now. Whether you don’t know when your stay-at-home order will be lifted or when you will be able to go visit your grandparents again, we are all living with something up in the air these days. For many, living in uncertainty or feeling anxiety can lead to falling back into bad habits to find some sense of control. For years, I coped with anxiety and distress by relapsing into my bulimia, even after I had “recovered.”

My bulimia began at a young age when I entered the modeling industry at the same time that I entered my teen years. As I came into my adult body with all of it’s beautiful curves, the pressures to look more like a “model” increased. It took several years of reconstructing my idea of beauty, along with professional help, to reach a point where I felt beautiful in my natural body. Even after this huge breakthrough in my mental and physical health, I found myself relapsing every time life took a turn and I felt like I had lost control. It wasn’t even always related to body-image, but more my own personal self-worth. My eating disorder had become a source of control in times of anxiety.

In order to be set free from my bad habit, I had to commit to developing healthier ones. It was definitely a difficult paradigm shift. I found a healthy outlet in writing music and in hiking. They were both escapes from my anxiety; I could control what I wrote or where I went to hike. I got to set the terms for them and go my own pace. Gradually, my first instinct was no longer to lean in to my eating disorder behaviors but to go outside or to grab my guitar. As I diligently worked on trading in my old habits for healthy ones, I felt my anxiety in situations decrease altogether to a point where I didn’t need an “escape” or a method of control, I simply maintained my good habits on a regular basis.

Here are few suggestions on habits and practices you could adopt to help any anxiety you may feel during this time:

  1. Creative outlets like music, visual arts, dancing, writing, etc. – This allows one to regularly express any emotions, good or bad, rather than letting them be stored up on the inside.
  2. Gentle exercise (where it’s allowed) such as yoga, hiking, online workout classes – exercise can be a healthy release of anxiety and stress as long as its associated with attaining health and not visual body changes.
  3. Daily Routines – keeping up with a morning routine, or a regular sleep schedule has been proven to decrease anxiety maintaining a sense of stability in daily life, especially as many of us are stuck at home.
  4. Social connection – Talking with one loved one everyday will help us feel connected and not alone in our anxiety. Additionally, one of the most helpful things was having a friend I trusted hold me accountable to not relapse. She would check in on me gently and kindly, never making me feel ashamed for anything.

There are so many other healthy habits you could start developing, but what is important is to do one that feels good for you. It may not come naturally, and it may take time to develop, but it should still be enjoyable for you. Remember that this process looks different for everyone, but no matter what it looks for you, it is accessible to everyone. Anyone can overcome bad habits and trade them out for healthy ones!

About the Author

Micah, a young professional based out of LA, works in the fashion industry. She is passionate about her faith, sustainability and human rights, especially for women in the fashion and beauty industries. She recently has re-entered the modeling industry with a desire to spread body inclusivity and positivity this time around. Follow along with her journey on her blog Woven Worship and her Instagram, as she continues to model, educate others on sustainability in the fashion industry, and travel the world and encourage people through faith.