(2 minute read)
HALT is a tool we use in recovery process’ a lot, whether it is recovery from an addiction, recovery from self-harm or depression or from a disordered eating patterns such as binge eating disorder.
HALT means to stop. When we are feeling out of control or low in mood it brings us to our own attention. It reminds us to take time to contemplate our feelings and energy levels to bring rationalisation to our thoughts before we commenced destructive or self-sabotaging behaviours.
It allows us to check in with ourselves to ensure we are self caring the way we need to support the recovery and improve our health and self worth.
If when we are feeling low or tempted to commence a behaviour which we struggle to control, such as eating or drinking, shopping, exercising, watching porn or gambling then HALT and access.
Hunger doesn’t just refer to our desire to eat, it also refers to our body’s needs for adequate energy and nutrients to fuel it effectively. Sometimes we may need to eat, when we do not “feel” hungry, appetite suppression can be symptom of low mood or if we are chronically restricting food. If we are not eating enough, or regularly enough our blood sugar levels may drop, leading to feelings of weakness, fatigue and irritability which can prevent us from functioning at our best and making appropriate choices.
So if we are feeling low in mood or a desire to commence a behaviour that would lead us away from recovery and realise hunger may be factor triggering this, it is vital eat something, a sandwich or wrap filled with chicken or tuna or egg is adequate.
Anger isn’t always a negative emotion, all emotions are valid and important and it is vital to feel them rather than push them away; however, anger can be a problem if uncontrolled or if we make decisions when we are angry these can be ones not beneficial in the long term. We think better when we are in a calm state.
When feeling low or a desire to binge, it is important to think whether we are angry and if we are try and let the thing that angers us go. Perhaps take a walk or have a bath, read a book or see a friend.
Being alone is not the same as being lonely, it is important to spend time alone, we all need space to rest and reflect; however feel lonely is different. We all need social interaction on a daily basis to meet our needs and if we don’t it can trigger negative behaviours.
If we are feeling lonely it is important to have a plan in place to stop that feeling, perhaps have a list of people to call, take a walk to the local café with a book, aim to have a least one positive interaction every day to prevent feelings of loneliness.
Sleep is such an important part of recovery and general health, being run down creates a lot of physical and psychological concerns. When we are deprived of sleep we are not only more likely to be irritable and unmotivated, but we are more likely to make poor choices that may take us away from our goal.
If we struggle to sleep then there are things we can put in place, we need to ensure our room is blacked out at night and that we don’t use screens at least an hour before bedtime. Try and get into a routine, take a warm bath or shower, have a hot drink and read or meditate before going to sleep. Also try and get up at a similar time each day and don’t be afraid to take a short nap daily to restore
HALT is not a magic formula, but it is a useful tool if we are feeling low in mood or have an urge to behave in a way that is counter productive to our goals.
Live life fully