Have you ever tracked your dermatillomania, trichotillomania, or nail-biting? I did that with the “calendar challenge” even before knowing the term BFRB.
I had no idea what I was doing, but I was so fed up with not being able to control the picking and causing spots on my skin.
Little did I know then that tracking my body-focused repetitive behaviors would become a big part of my future and my BFRB recovery.
With the calendar, I challenged myself not to pick at my skin in the bathroom—one of my main trigger locations.
For this challenge, I drew a small calendar on paper and attached it to the bathroom mirror.
I used to start the calendar challenge whenever I felt like starting a new fight. I wasn’t waiting for a new week or month to start.
Lately, I’ve also been using the calendar challenge to track my period, breakouts, or use of certain skincare products.
It helps me identify patterns and prepare myself mentally for the next time hormones affect my mood and skin—that’s when my urge to pick increases.
Set small goals and celebrate small victories
Smaller goals for this challenge will yield better results. If you only focus on one trigger location or body part, the challenge will be easier to complete.
- Focus on just one body part/area
People often have different areas that they pick, pull, or bite, which can be overwhelming. So, try to focus on just one body part. For example, if your goal is to focus on not picking your face, and you managed to do that, you can still check the box on the calendar even though you picked your arms or legs.
- Focus on only one trigger location
Another option is to decide on a location where you want to try not to engage in your BFRB. For example, if your challenge is not to bite your nails in the car, check the box if you succeed and celebrate!
Experiment with what works best for you. Maybe even combine both options! I do this – I mainly use the calendar challenge on my face (body part) in the bathroom (location).
- Divide the day into three parts
The calendar challenge can be difficult and daunting, even if we only focus on one body area or location. If that’s the case, simply break the day into three parts—morning, day, and evening. You might be able to cross out some more wins this way!
After you set the rules for yourself, take it one day at a time. It’s about fighting the small fights to win the battle.
Be proud and celebrate every little win!! That motivates you to keep going.
BFRB coping methods to support the calendar challenge
When I first did this challenge, not knowing the term BFRB, my attempts to be “pick-free” were not very successful. I didn’t understand why I could not NOT pick.
But now, after developing some BFRB methods, I find the calendar challenge more doable.
My favorite BFRB coping methods for the challenge are:
- The red light in the bathroom helps me not to see blemishes
- Pimple patches and hydrocolloid bandages help me cover wounds for several days
- A coping affirmation or mantra on the mirror is an excellent reminder to focus on not giving in to the urge to pick, pull, or bite
- Logging my BFRBs in the BFRB Awareness Journal helps me develop awareness and coping strategies
Be kind and patient with yourself
I used to get very upset and disappointed myself if I had too many unchecked squares. I felt defeated and angry. Unfortunately, setbacks are part and parcel of BFRB’s recovery. There is no way just to stop a BFRB!
So, let’s be more compassionate with ourselves. It’s about recovery—one day at a time and one BFRB at a time. You can end the calendar challenge anytime and just try again later!