Managing Covid-19 and Your Recovery

If you’re reading this and having a really tough time managing both your eating disorder recovery and quarantine, know that:

1. You are not alone.

2. You are not a “failure” if things are particularly difficult right now.

3. The most important thing is that you’re trying. Remember this.

Eating disorders thrive in isolation and, right now, it’s likely you’re having to isolate or really restrict your movements and routines. This is really hard for anyone, let alone for someone whose routines might be what keeps them going every day, when otherwise life might feel just too overwhelming.

When we are cut off from loved ones and day-to-day routines that help us to feel safe and in control of our recovery, the “voice” of the eating disorder can seem amplified and seep into all aspects of life: food and mealtimes, body image concerns, communicating needs with others, etc.

What’s more, eating disorders are already defined by lots of rules and restrictions. Even outside of a pandemic, “sitting with” anxiety or uncertainty can feel incredibly hard and may lead to a compulsion to “do something” or to be productive in order to power through these uncomfortable feelings. As such, imposed restrictions (that are, understandably, necessary during this time) that cause us to slow down might, in fact, exacerbate a need to feel “in control”. Much of the work that we do at Orri is to loosen (and undo) these rules and restrictions to allow more space for life over the eating disorder.

With all this in mind, the main thing to remember is that “you” aren’t lost in this…

Our Yoga and Body Awareness Therapist, Elaine, says that underneath the layers of life lessons, messages and experiences is a true “self” that we can all return to in times of need. As such, our therapy programmes explore the relationship we have with the “self”, learning ways to cultivate a positive relationship with it and build a sense of self-trust and resilience during times of difficulty.

This perspective is particularly crucial during times such as these, when our usual sources of support and grounding may be limited or unavailable.

If you are alone, without your usual support or supervision from loved ones, we would encourage you to recognise the fact that this is your recovery journey. Whilst many people – loved ones and treatment teams – may have being a strong support throughout that journey, the work has come from you, meaning that there is a strong part of you (this true “self”) that is resilient, determined and recovery-focused in this very moment.

Here are some tips to maintain your amazing recovery journey during this time of uncertainty:

  • Keep communicating (even virtually) with your treatment team or those supportive loved ones and friends who can hold you accountable to your journey.
  • Take up grounding exercises that help shift perspective into one of self-love and self-care each morning. This may include meditation, journaling to set intentions for the day, scheduling different activities in different rooms of ones home to structure the day
  • Consider your perspective: some may wish to view this pandemic as an opportunity to challenge maladaptive coping mechanisms by welcoming the creativity that comes with change and accepting the imposed “stillness” as a demonstration of a willingness to love oneself, look after oneself and truly listen to oneself. Perspective is crucial.
  • Reach out to people in your life who reinforce positive, recovery-focused behaviours and let them know you may need additional support

At Orri, it’s our priority to keep communicating. Our approach to treatment is all about consistency, so whilst we may not be able to offer treatment in-person, we are offering our specialist day treatment online through our new programmes, Orri Together. Whilst it may not be “body-to-body”, it is a still face-to-face and we are still here to witness your experience and support you along in your recovery journeys.

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