If you are struggling with or in treatment for an eating disorder, you may notice your eating disorder worsening since the pandemic. This article explains why you might be struggling more with your eating disorder and two things you can do to get on track in recovery.
Why has my eating disorder worsened During the COVID-19 pandemic?
If you have backslid in your recovery during this pandemic, rest assured, you are not alone. Because times of stress and uncertainty often re-trigger eating disorders – and right now is a time of great stress and uncertainty – many people find themselves back in the throes of an eating disorder. Maybe you or loved ones feel the pressure of a job loss or reduced work, or health concerns. You may not be able to practice your go-to coping strategies, such as hanging out with friends or traveling. Perhaps your support system has changed as in-person treatment options are limited. Articles from both the Journal of Eating Disorders and the International Journal of Eating Disorders note that food shortages, restricted food options, as well as the need to stock food are triggering for individuals struggling with an eating disorder.
How can I get my eating disorder under control?
So, what should you do if your eating disorder has been triggered during this pandemic? Here are two suggestions:
- First, and most importantly, tell your therapist, psychiatrist, nutritionist, and/or other professional support team members that you are struggling. If you do not have a therapist, please explore the benefits of having such a professional on your side. They can help you determine what level of support you need and often have connections with other professionals who can help you. After you have notified your support team that you are struggling, you can develop a plan together on how to tackle this understandable increase in struggle.
- Second, focus your energy on quarantine-friendly coping skills, such as:
- Creating new makeup looks
- Cultivating several go to music playlists
- Watching documentaries (non-triggering ones!)
- Mindfully watching shows/movies that are uplifting
- Reaching out to friends/family members you’ve
lost touch with via text, phone calls, or zoom
- Starting a garden
- Collecting indoor plants
- Collecting anything!
- Taking online classes
- Reading new books
- Re-reading favorite books
- Learning a language that’s always fascinated you (duolingo is free and a great place to start!)
- Writing a short story
- Writing a book
- Looking into virtual hobby groups (meetup.com is a great place to start)
- Playing virtual games with friends/family (like virtual wordcross, scrabble, etc.).