How COVID-19 May Be Impacting Young People with Eating Disorders and What To Do About It.

Posted by on April 30, 2020

Written by Teresa Bansen, MSW, RSW.

The coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for most teens. Whether you have a diagnosed eating disorder or struggle with food and/or body image issues, developing or maintaining healthy habits can become more difficult during times of stress. Maintaining awareness around how COVID-19 could be impacting your mental health and recovery journey is crucial for your well-being.

It is nearly impossible to avoid seeing posts cautioning against gaining weight during quarantine or how to stay fit from home.

Most people don’t realize how detrimental this type of messaging can be for teens struggling with an eating disorder or food and body image issues.

5 things you can do to help cope with eating disorder triggers during COVID-19

  1. Take notice when a post or meme is reinforcing unhealthy beliefs. Check in with yourself: How does this post make me feel? Do I feel better or worse after reading this?

  2. Actively limit your exposure to unhelpful social media accounts by unfollowing or blocking triggering or diet-related content.

  3. Create a routine. Daily life has shifted drastically over the last few weeks, and this makes it very challenging to stick to a routine. Adding structure throughout your day helps to create a sense of security and stability during this unpredictable time. Moreover, creating a routine and structure around mealtimes can help you to stay on track.

  4. Let a trusted friend or family member know you’re struggling. Social distancing has increased feelings of anxiety and uncertainty while it has decreased the sense of connection with friends and social supports. Reach out to someone close to you for support.

  5. Reach out to a therapist. Struggling with an eating disorder or body image issues can feel like an isolating experience that is often hard for others to understand. At the Toronto Counselling Centre for Teens, we can help provide specialized support and understanding to help you get through these challenging times.

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