By Nicole Patience MS, RD, LDN, CDCES, CEDRD
This is a time filled with a deep sense of hope and anticipation for the future.
The rollout of the COVID vaccine has brought optimism that the comforts of hugs from friends and family, in-person therapy, and weekend trips across state lines will once again return. However, there is still a presence of fear and trepidation.
With the evolving COVID guidelines, some people may continue to worry about their loved ones, live events, and summer travel. Some people feel more or less comfortable than others about the “opening up” of society. This concern may not be limited to potential exposure to the virus.
The return to the office, classes, and in-person gatherings also means that we have less control over what others see of us and our daily routines. The window into our lives will no longer be limited to the carefully crafted social media posts or the short windows of live virtual meetups. This means that soon people will become embodied not just a headshot on Zoom, and people will once again eat with others, not just alone or in their pod. Some may feel vulnerable around this exposure. Some may emerge from hibernation with more disordered eating thoughts. For some people isolation may have protected the eating disorder leaving those folks with familiar disordered patterns of behavior. If this rings true for you, you are not alone. The pandemic has had a significant impact on people with eating disorders and people with a history of eating disorders.1
This pandemic has been stressful for many. The transition out of it may continue to throw curveballs. One strategy to manage the stress could be increasing compassion for self and others. Related to that, consider patience for yourself and others as we all fumble through the ever changing new normal in our lives.
Social isolation during the pandemic was a strategy to keep everyone physically safe. The threat of the virus is only one challenge we face as we transition out of isolation.
If you or someone you know needs more support, reach out to a dietitian and/or psychotherapist to explore body concerns that arise as things move towards in-person work, learning, and socializing. There is much to be hopeful for in the days ahead.
If you’re looking for further assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.
1 Rodgers RF, Lombardo C, Cerolini S, et al. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating disorder risk and symptoms. Int J Eat Disord. 2020;1–5.