Recovery for people living with an eating disorder is a constant battle. So, when you throw in a global pandemic like Covid-19 that battle can become so much harder. Here are some things to consider to keep yourself in recovery during this time.
Stay connected with your treatment team
Myrtle Oak Clinic has been working diligently to ensure that we can continue providing support to clients throughout this crisis. With the additional stresses of constant news coverage, food scarcity and general uncertainty we know that its extra important to be able to connect to your treatment team. These times are stressful but even more so for people living with an eating disorder. You may need additional support from your treatment team to help with your eating disorder, general mental health and stress. Below are just some of the common worries people living with an eating disorder may be experiencing at the moment.
What if my safe foods aren’t available?
Safe foods are a big deal in eating disorders; for many people its not as simple as just eating whatever is available. If you’re noticing that you are unable to buy some of your safe foods this is going to cause you a lot of distress. However not being able to buy safe foods does also present a unique opportunity to challenge your food rules. Have a discussion with your treatment providers to work out a strategy to help relax your food rules just a little, like trying a close alternative to your safe food. Not only will this help you reduce your distress during this time but it will be a valuable step on your continued road to recovery.
What if I can’t work out?
Gyms and other public spaces closing down can be really worrying, especially if your eating disorder is telling you that you need to work out a lot. Now might be a good time to review safe exercise practices with your treatment team and work on modifying your routine closer to those practices. If you can you might even be able to think of this time as an enforced rest for your body. We all know that bodies need to rest and recover, especially in times of high stress or after being sick. Try to think of this as an opportunity to rest your body, challenge your routine and practice being kind and gentle to yourself. Remember that your body is probably dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety at the moment and will benefit from a bit of gentle care.
My urge to binge has increased
Binge eating type behaviour is really normal in stressful situations, even more so when there are threats of food deprivation. If you’re noticing increased urges to binge or even increased binges it is important to acknowledge that this is likely due to stress and anxiety and isn’t necessarily a step backwards in recovery. Check in with your treatment team and let them know what’s going on for you, you might need some extra support to reduce your anxiety. In the meantime, remember to engage in your coping strategies and self-care.
There is so much food in the house
Lots of people are engaging in food hoarding behaviour at the moment. As with extra binge eating this is a normal response to threat of food deprivation. For people with an eating disorder seeing such a large amount of food can be very distressing. This might be especially hard for people who live with others, such as their parents, partners or housemates who have stocked up on food. If you’re noticing extra distress because there is lots of food around talk it through with your treatment team; they can help you come up with strategies to reduce your distress.
I’m feeling helpless with everything going on
It can be easy to feel like there is nothing you can do when the whole world seems to be melting down and for people with eating disorders it can become harder to ignore that voice that says it can help you feel better. When in the process of recovery, you are already working so hard not to listen to the eating disorder voice, adding global stress can make that seem impossible. Try to remember that you aren’t doing this alone, you have the support of your treatment team who you can reach out to. Try to also think about the other support networks you have in place, family, friends, recovery support groups etc. Now is the time to reach out and become more connected with others.
What about self-isolation/lockdown
Remember that the staff of Myrtle Oak are here to support you during this time, if you need to make an appointment or want more information please contact us on 43623443.