Coping Cards

I Can Do It—Again

“I can do it again,” aka knowing I’ll eventually get out of the BFRB-low, is a comforting reminder for me when facing major setbacks.

Sometimes I just don’t have the energy and strength to deal with my BFRBs. In these times, I’m fully aware of my skin picking and cheek biting (nail biting hasn’t taken center stage in a long time—knock on wood 🤩).

I know what I’m doing, but I’m not fighting it. To be fair, I don’t do as much damage to my skin as I used to. Maybe that’s because I’m more aware of my picking and biting?

Also, I no longer “dig” and patch up spots and use blockers early. Some of my BFRB coping techniques have even become new healthier habits, which is very helpful.

Of course, setbacks are always frustrating and annoying. But I no longer let them affect my days and my mood. Knowing I “can do it again” gives me comfort in pulling myself out of the BFRB low.

Once I have more energy, I know I can return to my BFRB coping techniques, do my breathing exercises, journal, and take good care of my inner child.

Some days are just more challenging than others. And sometimes, BFRBs are just easier to deal with than other times. And that’s okay. BFRB recovery is not linear.

I send you much love, Anja 💙

Coping Cards

BFRB Beauty Basics

What has your BFRB taught you?

I’ve learned so much about BFRBs and, consequently, about myself. And I’m still on my way to learning more. I wish I had known many things sooner, but better late than never, eh?

In BFRB recovery, in addition to avoiding inflammation and pain, we focus so much on having spotless skin, smooth fingers, or stunning long hair or nails—to look a certain way and fit a certain beauty profile.

However, BFRB recovery is much more than that. It’s about inner healing, unlearning trauma, and getting to know yourself.

It might sound strange, but I’m grateful for my BFRBs and what they’ve taught me.

For example, these are some things I’ve learned so far on my BFRB recovery journey, aka my BFRB Beauty Basics:

💙 More self-love
💙 Less self-doubt
💙 More self-acceptance
💙 I’m good enough
💙 Creating awareness helps to heal in many aspects
💙 More self-compassion and patience
💙 Less perfectionism

What would you add to this list?

I send you much love, Anja 💙

Coping Cards

Progress Over Perfection

We who live with body-focused repetitive behaviors are often overthinkers and tend to be perfectionists. We easily discount our healing progress when we have setbacks.

What does it even mean to have a setback? Don’t get hung up on “I have to stop picking/biting/pulling completely, or it doesn’t count.”

Our BFRBs serve a purpose. We pull, bite, and pick to soothe ourselves and regulate our nervous system. We cannot “just stop” our behavior. 

That’s why it is crucial to celebrate small successes and recognize the progress in our BFRB healing. So, be proud if you picked only three spots instead of eight, pulled only four hairs instead of ten, or generally didn’t do as much damage as usual.

As perfectionists, we must learn to accept perceived imperfect skin and crooked hair. We have this unrealistic airbrushed image of us in our heads. But at the end of the day, nobody’s skin or hair is perfect. We are human; we’re “flawed,” and this is good! Imagine how boring the world would be otherwise!

So, take the pressure off yourself, define BFRB recovery through mini-goals, and ditch the all-or-nothing thinking. Even if you sometimes think you’re not making any progress, take a closer look—inward … not in the mirror or something, because that can be dangerous, as we know 😉

You make progress with every new attempt, coping technique, and self-help book. Every time you “fail,” you learn something new about yourself. And the more you know about yourself and your triggers, the easier it will be to prevent certain situations and control your BFRB.

Trust the progress and remember that healing is not linear!

Coping Cards

Do Not Look. Do Not Touch.

BFRB Coping Reminder for all BFRBs: Do not look. Do not touch.

We are often triggered by the look and touch of imperfect, rough, textured, uneven skin or hair.

This is a friendly reminder not to let your fingers and eyes (or tongue if you bite your cheeks) wander around mindlessly, as this will trigger and increase the urge to pull, pick and bite.

Whenever I lean in the mirror, check my nails while doing yoga, or feel my arms and general skin during a “thinking pause” at work, I try to use this coping statement to free myself from this behavior before the urge to take action arises.

To hide the damaged skin on my fingers I like to use the gel finger covers until the skin is healed.

For my face, I often use hydrocolloid bandages which I can leave on for several days. There will be no scabs and after three days or so the wounds are not as triggering anymore.

I send you coping energy, Anja 💙

Coping Cards

Ask yourself: What Do I Need Right Now?

Whenever you find yourself engaging in a BFRB, ask yourself: What do I need right now? Sometimes the answer to this question can help curb the urge to pick or bite.

See your BFRBs as an internal body alarm telling you to take a break, not take things too seriously, set boundaries, or focus on your mental health to heal and feel better.

This positive reframing has helped me feel a little more comfortable with my BFRBs. Instead of hating and fighting them, I try to manage them better … and hate them a little less 😜 We are all trying, eh!

Sending you much love and coping strength,


PS: This question has been on my mind since I first saw it on @pickingme. Since then, it has kept popping up in conversations with fellow BFRB sufferers.