Changes in routine, or to your plan can be a challenge for anyone with an Eating Disorder. Being in control, particularly of your food routine is one of the hardest parts to break and address. The sense of control helps us to feel safe, and to ensure we don’t face anything we don’t feel ready for or have to deal with intrusive thoughts. As a teacher, I have the holidays off too, and while I enjoy this, there does come with it a degree of uncertainty.
I think that there are a few ways to deal with this, and I have tried both. So firstly, I find it important to continue with some kind of structure. I think that this certainly applies to meal timings. I try and keep my meal times very similar to my normal routine. Allowing leeway with this gives your eating disorder wiggle room and a chance to try and get it’s claws back in. To start with, sticking to the meal plan and making sure you have eaten everything before your head hits the pillow is the main target. Once this becomes set, potentially moving away from the plan (meals out, challenging fear foods etc) can be something to think about implementing. Remember, baby steps are the way to get yourself where you want to be!
I think that there is also something to be said for embracing some spontaneity, because, after all, life can be! Start with planned meals out, or a trip to the beach and an ice cream. Get yourself used to doing those things. This is all about retraining your brain not to think in an ‘eating disorder way’. You might need to do this a few times before your brain actually gets used to the fact this is okay!
Being off work/university is a time to relax, as we don’t often let ourselves do this. Your body and mind with be thankful for the time to reset and recharge. Think of this time in a positive way and frame it so in your mind. I hope this helps in some way!