Looking back on the few days before I started university, I remember feeling incredibly excited but also being very aware of all the unknown.
Also like some reading this, I was going to university shortly after being diagnosed with anorexia. So I know all too well how it feels to be in recovery from an eating disorder, whilst living in an unfamiliar place, and dealing with all the new challenges that university brings with it.
Below is a list of common worries that people have when starting university. To address these worries, I’ve shared relevant affirmations from Louise Hay’s Power Thought Cards. I’d recommend writing these affirmations down, and looking at them whenever you need to centre yourself.
New faces, and pressure to fit in
Be brave with your decisions, and know when to say yes or no. University life can bring about a lot of opportunities – some more “well” than others – so it’s important to know your boundaries, and feel empowered to make the right decision for your recovery.
That being said, it’s also important to push yourself to say yes if you feel your eating disorder is limiting you. Take a moment to pause, and assess what feels right in your core.
- I am beautiful, and everybody loves me: I radiate acceptance, and I am deeply loved by others. Love surrounds and protects me.
- I now go beyond other people’s fears and limitations: it is “my” mind that creates my experiences. I am unlimited in my own ability to create the good in my life.
Missing home in an unfamiliar environment
As much as you might be eager to fly the nest, it’s completely normal to miss home, or feel as though something is “missing” in your new surroundings.
Take time to make your new place a home. Even though you may only be there for a year, it’s important in your first year to feel safe, and to know there’s somewhere to return to that will hold you.
Decorate your room with fairy lights, cushions and rugs. Buy some beautiful candles and put affirmations and quotes that resonate with you on your walls. This is your space.
- My home is a peaceful haven: I bless my home with love. I put love in every corner, and my home lovingly responds with warmth and comfort. I am at peace.
- I open new doors to life: I rejoice in what I have, and I know that fresh new experiences are always ahead. I greet the new with open arms. I trust life to be wonderful.
Getting used to more independence
Independence is equally exciting as it is terrifying. The best way to feel confident in your new independence is to develop self-care rituals, and to know your support system.
Daily meditation and repeating affirmations are just a couple of the ways you can centre yourself, and feel confident that you’ve got this. Creating a vision board will help you to see where you’re going, or where you want to go. Even simple things such as washing yourself thoroughly in the shower (in between every toe!), can make you feel much better.
Don’t be embarrassed to reach out to support services at university. It’s important that when you need help with things, you take the necessary steps to get it. These services are there for a reason, and you won’t be the only person using them.
Remember, you’ve got people at home who know you – if you feel as though they’ll be able to guide you through these times, reach out to them too.
- I am flexible and flowing: I am open to the new and changing. Every moment presents a wonderful new opportunity to become more of who I am. I flow with life easily and effortlessly.
- I am worth loving: I do not have to earn love. I am lovable because it exists. Others reflect the love I have for myself.
Feeling overwhelmed by studies, and general life
With your new independence it’s important to feel in control of what’s happening around you.
Write a journal to give yourself space to reflect on your day or week. Write down the good things that happened. If you’ve had some difficult days – write about them, but underneath write compassion responses, such as “I tried my best, and I am proud of myself”.
Once again, reach out! You’re juggling so many balls at university – but there is a support structure there to help you.
- I let go of all expectations: I flow freely and lovingly with life. I love myself. I know that only good awaits me at every turn.
- I am totally adequate for all situations: I am one with the power and wisdom of the universe. I claim this power, and it is easy for me to stand up for myself.
The eating disorder voice can feel very strong when changes occurs, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to prove your strength to overcome it!
You can do this.