Senior Director of Clinical Programming Melissa Coffin, PhD, CEDS-S shares ways to stay connected during this time of social distancing during COVID-19. Read on to learn some of Dr. Coffin’s tips…
If you’ve been working on recovery from your eating disorder, you are probably well aware of the importance of staying connected. But how does this work if you’re socially distancing?
Here are three areas that you can focus on during this time.
Connecting with Self. Social distancing is offering us a rare opportunity to have extra time to connect with ourselves. This might be daunting for some as our normal day-to-day tasks might have previously kept us distracted. However, in any way that you can, trying to use this time as a way to check in with yourself can be incredibly helpful for your recovery.
If connecting with yourself is difficult for you to do, start by just getting comfortable and taking some deep breaths. Notice what comes up for you when you are truly just sitting with yourself. If you need help, there’s a tremendous amount of meditation apps and guides online that you can try. Breathing and meditation can help improve your mindfulness. Use this mindfulness to notice how you’re spending your time. If you are watching a lot of news coverage and it’s making you anxious, work to reduce your exposure to it. Set times each day to check in on what’s going on and then move on. Try to engage in mindful self-care activities like taking a bath, journaling or going for a walk outside. Notice how those activities impact your thoughts and your mood.
Taking Care. The next area to focus on is taking care of yourself. To add some structure to your days, it can be helpful to get up, shower, put on clothes and get going (I didn’t say you can’t sleep in a bit if that’s an option for you!). You can also use this time to clean, organize and really dig into your living space and make sure it represents you and where you are in your process. With extra time on your hands you can also take care by enjoying those books you’ve been wanting to read, that hobby you have wanted to try, or that online class you were interested in. Just remember with any routine that you start, practice flexibility with it. Some of your daily choices and activities may need to be different. This may be most noticeable with food. Use this as a real world opportunity to try new things.
Connecting with others. Here’s the good news- we live in an age of unprecedented interconnectivity. That means there’s a plethora of ways to connect with others while keeping your safe social distance. So, just because you’re physically distant from others doesn’t mean you can’t be emotionally connected to them. Use your devices to call, text, facetime or video chat with others in your life. Make sure to connect with at least one other person daily.
Lastly, know that you are not alone. These are unprecedented and highly uncertain times. We are all navigating them together. It is normal to experience a range of feelings during a time like this. Take the time to check in with yourself, identify and understand your feelings and share them with others. Be curious about your reactions and gentle with your soul. Refuse to let your eating disorder use this is an opportunity to creep back into your life. It will absolutely not make things better, as you know. Stay strong and know that we are all in this together.