Practicing Stillness in Eating Disorder Recovery

October 31, 2023 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

I recently learned the value of practicing stillness. I spent the last two weeks overseas in Nepal, immersing myself in a culture and climate so marvelously different from my own. I embarked on this journey expecting to learn about another unique way of life—and I most certainly have. But in the process, I also encountered lessons that challenged my current relationship with body image, mental health, and personal growth as a whole. To be more specific, my time in Nepal has shown me the value of practicing stillness in eating disorder recovery.

The Unexpected Gift of Practicing Stillness in Eating Disorder Recovery

For most of 2023, I have been training to hike in the Himalayas. I imagined this experience would test both my mental stamina and physical fitness like never before. I envisioned myself being pushed to the limits, feeling the muscular soreness and exhaustion but relishing the sense of accomplishment. And sure, it was a strenuous feat—I am so proud to have successfully done it. I wouldn't change a moment, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity.

To be honest, though, I was not ready for the sheer amount of downtime on this trip. As someone who prefers to be in motion as often as possible, I found it tough to acclimate to the slow hiking pace and hours of inactivity between each stop on the trail as we inched our way to base camp. I felt anxious and restless, with the eating disorder voice hurling accusations of laziness in my ear. But as the weeks stretched on, I began to embrace this incremental, unhurried rhythm.

I noticed a wave of gratitude for the chance to pause, breathe, relax, and center myself in the present. I wrote in my journal, interacted with my fellow travelers, and took in all my surroundings. In those pockets of inertia, I created joyful memories and beautiful, unexpected connections with those I crossed paths with. The more I gave myself permission to just be, the clearer it became—practicing stillness is an invaluable part of eating disorder recovery. 

Practicing Stillness in Eating Disorder Recovery Is a Lesson I'll Carry Forward

I never thought I would stumble upon a new eating disorder recovery milestone in the mountains of Nepal, but life is wildly astonishing and curiously unpredictable. I set off on this adventure with the assumption that I would exert myself to the brink in some of the most rigorous conditions on earth. However, instead of fierce intensity, I found an invitation to rest. Although this caused some initial discomfort, I also felt at peace in my own skin—maybe for the first time. Now that I'm home again, it would be easy to backslide into familiar patterns of behavior, but practicing stillness in eating disorder recovery is one lesson I want to carry forward.    

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2023, October 31). Practicing Stillness in Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 18 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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