Survive Social Distancing: Eating Disorder Self-Care Tips
During the Coronavirus pandemic, people with eating disorders may face significant obstacles in maintaining their physical, mental, and emotional health.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, many people with eating disorders will struggle to maintain their recovery; it is truly a perfect storm of eating disorder triggers.
Regular routines around meals and snacks are disrupted, and access to movement options such as yoga classes is no longer available in many communities. Social distancing, fear, disrupted routines, and more make it difficult to feel calm, centered, and supported. Additionally, COVID-19-related anxiety may exacerbate food anxiety for individuals struggling with eating disorders, as meal options and choices have become more limited.
Here are some self-care tips to help make it through!
Feel and acknowledge your feelings
Painful emotions and unsettling thoughts may bubble to the surface during this time of uncertainty. It’s ok. I assure you, even the most “well-adjusted” individuals are going through a similar experience. There’s no need to downplay or avoid these painful things. Notice them, hold space for them, give them a name, and communicate with your network of loved ones about what you’re going through.
At the same time, unsettling thoughts and emotions can spiral out of control and turn into your “old faithful trifecta” of “shoulds,” “what ifs,” and, “I can’ts.” If this happens, see if you can give yourself compassion for those reactions. Validate yourself that you are attempting to create predictability in those old familiar ways, and “show up for yourself” in the way that you need to provide yourself reassurance and comfort.
Individuals with eating disorders often have difficulty with flexibility. In fact, research shows that individuals with some types of eating disorders are neurologically primed to have difficulty “going with the flow.”
Losing our rituals and routines, even in the short term, can be uncomfortable or downright terrifying. Notice how you feel in the process of practicing flexibility and give yourself loving kindness and permission to feel. Allowing flexibility in these instances will also allow you to practice more flexibility in your eating disorder recovery, giving you more freedom and a greater quality of life.
Spend quality time with loved ones, virtually
Sometimes technology has a way of pushing us further and further apart. But now, we may find it to be a great resource in connecting with our loved ones! Make a list of people you have been meaning to reach out to and schedule calls throughout your week to help pull you out of isolation. Maybe you can even draft some letters to send after the pandemic has passed.
Anything you can do to reinforce the idea that you are not alone is worth the time and effort. Alsana even offers a FREE Online Support Group, which I encourage you to check out.
Hit the reset button with gratitude
Gratitude is a practice that can expand our positive emotional experience.
Gratitude is one of the only emotions that can be generated on command and pull other positive emotions to it, like Velcro.
Find a clean, empty jar. If you have art supplies, decorate it however you like! This will be your new Gratitude Jar. Place it somewhere special where you won’t forget about it.
At least once each day, jot down something you are grateful for on a small piece of paper, fold it up, and drop it into your gratitude jar. Watch it fill up over the next couple weeks and anytime you need a boost, empty the jar and read your notes of gratitude out loud to yourself. It’s powerful, I guarantee it!
Remember: we are here for you
Our global community’s ability to recover has everything to do with how we care for ourselves, the people around us, and how flexible we are willing to be in the process. It is also important to recognize that none of us have to go through this alone. We hope you know that you can rely on Alsana during these uncertain times.
Please call us today if we can be of service. (855) 915-0213