For many students, the back-to-school season brings a combination of excitement and nerves. You’re sorry to see your summer vacation come to an end, and maybe a little bit apprehensive about the social and academic challenges of a new school year—but at the same time, it’s fun to get back in the swing of things, to reconnect with friends, and to be introduced to new teachers, subjects, and experiences.
Of course, if you are in recovery for an eating disorder, the nerves may outweigh the excitement. Recovery is all about coping effectively with daily stresses—and the back to school season can make those stresses all the more pronounced. The question is, how can you continue to prioritize recovery even once you’re back at the grind?
This isn’t always an easy thing to do, and you’ll face new obstacles each day. With that said, there are certainly some guidelines you can lean on as you seek to put your health and wellness first this back-to-school season.
How to Maintain Recovery During the Back-to-School Season
Here are just a few of them.
Meet with your dietitian beforehand. Returning to school probably means packing lunches for yourself, which may throw your usual meal plan into upheaval. Maintaining your nutritional standards is critical to maintaining your recovery, so if you have any concerns about the meal plan, address them with your dietitian well in advance.
Continue with therapy, support groups, PHP or IOP. Whatever your current schedule of therapy is, make sure you stick with it. Yes, your life will become busier during the school year, and you may have weeks where you don’t feel like you need to devote time to these appointments—but maintaining that regular cycle is invaluable to your recovery in ways you might not fully realize.
Know your triggers. What are the things that tend to trigger stress, or difficulties maintaining your recovery? It’s always helpful to be clear about what these things are, and to sit down with your therapist to discuss ways you can avoid them—or, when that’s not possible, to cope with them productively.
Have a plan for dealing with stress. Speaking of which, school can’t help but bring some stress from time to time—so how do you plan to deal with it? Make sure you have a healthy stress outlet—whether it’s journaling, art, yoga, or whatever else.
Sleep well. One thing that can help you contend with each day’s challenges is getting a good night’s sleep. Rest will give you the strength and stamina your body and mind require to stay committed to recovery. Ask your therapist about some good ways to sleep more peacefully at night.
Remind yourself that you are worthy of love and recovery. Make it clear to yourself each morning by repeating some positive mantras of self-love. Tell yourself you’re beautiful. Tell yourself you’re valuable. Don’t ever forget it. Surround yourself with friends who will offer similar affirmations.
Talk to people. When stress comes, resist the urge to go into isolation. Express your feelings and be candid about your struggles. Lean on the family members and friends who surround you, and who want to help you maintain your recovery. Also don’t hesitate to call your therapist or someone from your support group as needed.
The bottom line: Going back to school can be exciting, but it’s not all fun and games—and for those in eating disorder recovery, it may be daunting. These guidelines can help you stand strong in your recovery. To learn more about how Alsana can support going back to school with PHP or IOP, reach out to Alsana today.[cta] Need encouragement in your eating disorder treatment? Reach out to someone at Alsana today. [/cta]