Whenever houseguests have stayed in the past I've whipped myself into a frenzy to try and make my home hygienic, if not presentable. Litter box and cat bathroom spotless, cat hair tumbleweeds swept out of the corners of the stairs, my bed made, everything vacuumed, dishes done and put away, kitchen clean, laundry folded and put away.
And I've otherwise pretty much neglected the house and yard the way I used to neglect my exercise and nutrition. I'm starting to see that this pervasive self-neglect leads to feeling badly about myself and my life, and that taking care of myself helps me feel loved.
I've recently been through the guest cleaning cycle and over the subsequent weeks especially needed to practice self-kindness due to hitting a very rough emotional patch. So when things went south and I found myself spiraling down into sadness, I took a different strategy. I continued the behaviors for keeping things the way I like them.
It makes me happy to see my bed made and the rugs vacuumed. It makes me feel like someone loves me. And you know what? Those are very good reasons to do it. These are not chores to be avoided, they are self-nurturing behaviors which bolster my feelings of self-worth.
Now of course these concepts are obvious, in hindsight. But given how I'm wired, it took an extremely painful situation for me to finally make the connection:
Feeling nurtured and loved removes one of the most powerful inducements to my binges, namely the idea that self-neglect is OK and appropriate because no one loves me or cares about me, least of all me, and they never will. I've carried this negative thought pattern with me for many many years and it's even more powerful than my desire to continue to fit in my kayaks.
Now that I've made that connection, and since my fitness and health are indirectly at stake, in a twisted way I can finally appreciate the value of this concept. Making my bed will make me happy, and if I'm happy, even just from the little things, I'm less likely to spiral into that sort of negative thinking. And therefore less likely to binge, and therefore more likely to continue maintaining my fitness and health.
So, yeah. Add vacuuming, cleaning the litter box, and yes, making my bed to my list of anti-binge strategies.
Because you know what? This isn't about the guests. *I* am worth it.