Lockdown 2 – Opportunity or Overwhelm? You Decide
So here we go again.
If you’re living in England, you may well have been wading through the TV broadcasts and online news feeds this weekend, to try to figure out what the rules are, and what a new lockdown means for your world.
But as important as whether the regulations allow you to get your hair cut or go into your school or workplace, is what this new step is going to mean for your mental health.
It’s of no great surprise that the first lockdown saw so many eating disorder sufferers feeling distraught, sidelined, fearful, ignored or anxious.
Dozens told us throughout the months how they had been dropped from statutory services, were unable to access their usual counsellor or therapist, were petrified of queuing at supermarkets or having to challenge behaviours because of access to safe foods.
And then there were those in locked-down inpatient units where family could no longer visit, or those who felt triggered into old patterns by anxiety related to the virus, or became hugely distressed at having to mask emotions and behaviours while living in close proximity to loved ones.
This time, we know that the lockdown poses its own additional set of challenges. While it may be being framed as a time-limited approach on this occasion, that doesn’t take away the fact that this second stint is happening in a period of darker, colder and shorter days.
So with all that said, of course, it’s only natural that you, as someone who struggles with an eating disorder, or indeed, as someone supporting a loved one through recovery, might be feeling incredibly concerned, worried or desperate.
And yet….there is another way of looking at this month period (and the same applies to those of you in the other nations finding yourself under restrictions).
You can choose to tell yourself that this is an opportunity for you to hit the reset button and to give yourself a deliberate and focused ‘recovery recharge’.
You’ll be seeing less people, have less places to go, and may perhaps already be wondering whether you could have better embraced the last period of lockdown in the good interest of your restoration.
All too often, when we battle mental health challenges, we can look at a chapter of disappointment or negativity, as something which has been ‘done to us’ and that we are the ‘victim’ of circumstance.
Our argument, is that, those chapters are equally ones in which we can see the scope for change, identify our resolve and resilience, and where we can ask ourselves ‘what one thing can I do today to make myself feel better about where I am in the world right now?’.
Think this sounds a little too ‘deep’ and beyond your reach?
Well, why not humour us at Wednesday’s Child.
Take a look at the following as some tips and suggestions for ways you can flip your current distress into determination, and for opportunities to make new positive steps that will allow you to arrive in the Christmas season in a healthier and happier mind:
1 – Figure out your support team. Whether you can physically connect with people under the restrictions or not, work out who you can turn to for your real and virtual conversations, who will hear you out when you’re struggling, and who will be available for that walk, facetime meal, or can even do some supermarket shopping for you.
2 – Make food available. It sounds obvious, but this is really important. The more we make food seem like it should be on a pedestal or should remain out of reach, then the more we expose ourselves to restriction, leading to obsessive desire, leading to bingeing or uncontrolled consumption, leading to undue feelings of guilt.
3 – Use your time wisely. If you’re going to have fewer things on your schedule as a result of this lockdown, start doing the very things you’ve been fearful of doing. Make cooking part of your routine. Structure in at least three meals and three snacks. Plan in do-nothing rest time. Read (wisely) about the importance of nourishing your brain for wellness.
4 – Be mindful. Learn to appreciate that which you have, and which you don’t want your eating disorder to compromise or deprive you of. Is that seeing the giggling smiles of your children when you agree to bake with them? Is it snuggling on the sofa with your partner and not obsessing about exercise or restriction? Is it about recognising you do have all the tools you need for a healthy and happy life, and that you have the friends and family who are there to help champion your journey.
5 – Let Go. You may not feel you can go ‘all in’ with recovery eating (or you might), but either way, this is a great time to wear relaxed clothes, risk challenging your controlled thoughts, and shifting the way you feel about your body and its potential. Doing this through lockdown means you’re less likely to feel conscious of comments from others about how you are looking or what you might be choosing to eat. Let go, but do do it.
What else will you be embracing during Lockdown 2 in a bid to achieve recovery? Let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nov 2020