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Shortly after leaving residential treatment my outpatient therapist and I identified certain things in my life that are the “bare essentials” to my recovery. We called them my non-negotiables.

Everyone has non-negotiables regardless if they recognize them or not.

A non-negotiable is simply something that is essential to your everyday functioning as a human being. Many of our non-negotiables as humans are going to be the same. For instance, we all require sleep in some capacity, where it will vary is in the number of hours an individual needs.

I encourage you to examine your life over the next few weeks. First with that information make a list of your non-negotiables. Next it is important that you write out why that item is a non-negotiable in your life. Finally come up with a plan to make sure that that non-negotiable is met 100% of the time. After all – it’s NON-NEGOTIABLE!

I’m going to share my non-negotiables with you (I have 7) and hopefully that can give you a jumping off point for creating your own!

  1. Time with Jesus everyday – My time with Jesus is important to me everyday because it helps me focus on what is important in life. It gives me an eternal perspective and it fills my heart with good. I fit this into my day by reading a devotional or verse and praying, or writing prayers in my journal.
  2. No binging/purge behaviors – binging and purging is very negative on my body, mind and spirit. It also prevents my body from absorbing the medication I need and the nutrients I need from my food. It sends my life into a whirlwind.  I need to abstain from these behaviors to maintain stability and health. To do this I will keep up with my treatment team. Be honest about how I am feeling and follow my treatment plan.
  3. Eat three meals per day – Eating three meals per day helps keep me from binging and purging and also keeps me on the road to recovery from my eating disorder. Each meal has to fit the nutritional guidelines based on the meal plan from treatment. To do this, I’ll have to plan ahead some and also make sure that I set aside time for my meals (it is that important)
  4. Take all medication as prescribed – If I don’t take my medication, it won’t work for me. So I must take it all as prescribed. To do this I will need to arrange doctor appointments on time and refills on time and also remember to take it, I can set alarms on my cell phone.
  5. sleep 8-9 hours per night – I have learned that I function best at 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Less than that does not give my body enough time for my medicine to kick in and more than that is too much! So I will make a commitment and a night time routine to go to bed at the same time every night.
  6. NO eating in secret – Eating in secret fosters guilt and shame which fosters eating disordered behaviors. I need to do away with those behaviors so I commit to not eating in secret. To do this I will only eat in common areas of the house and public places and especially avoid my bedroom and car.
  7. NO alcohol consumption period. – Alcohol cannot mix with my medications so I will avoid situations in which alcohol is involved. This is important for my health physically, emotionally and mentally.

Those are my 7 non-negotiables. Yours may look very different. I wanted to show you mine so that you could see how laying them out plain and simple could be very beneficial for those in recovery or learning to navigate a mental illness or really just anyone working to get a better handle on what is healthy for them!

The key to remember is: Your health is non-negotiable.

It’s time to put yourself on your priority list. I’m not always 100% perfect at meeting all 7 of mine. And when are we ever 100% perfect at anything? But having them written out helps so much because I can really see how what I’m doing is causing shifts in how I’m feeling.

My name is Erin and this is Where I Stand.