The Summer can be a very tricky time for anyone suffering with an Eating Disorder or having body image and eating challenges. I know myself, the warmer weather can bring on a whole host of issues that haven’t been so apparent through the winter months. Warmer weather means the idea of having more of you on show potentially, maybe even wearing a bikini, swimming shorts or a swimming costume. The idea of this alone can bring on intrusive thoughts and encourage us to engage in behaviours that are not recovery focussed. The thing I always try to remember, and believe me I do understand how challenging this is, is that when you see a friend, family member, someone walking down the street, would you make a comment to them about their body and what it looks like? The answer is likely to be no. So, the next time you feel an intrusive thought coming in, remember, speak to yourself like you would a friend. If you wouldn’t say it out loud to someone else, don’t say it to yourself. This is the eating disorder trying to wiggle its way back in and it is a bully. Do not let it win!
Something else I have used in preparation for holidays, as I know quite often the anxiety leading up to an event can be really challenging, is to see your holiday or trip away from a perspective that is not of your eating disorder. What you don’t want to do, is look back on photos from the time and wish you had spent the time being present in the moment rather than spend the time conflicted and restricted by the intrusive thoughts. Something I do before any trip, is to focus on all the things that I will gain from the trip – memories, time with family, laughter, new sights, time to switch off from work/uni. If this is something that maybe you need support with, I am always at the end of an email or it can be covered in a session too.
Time and memories are so precious and we all want to look back on things with no regrets.