First things first, I want to send everyone a virtual hug (a big one!) because this is a weird and confusing time. However you are feeling and responding right now is 100% OKAY – we’re all figuring this out one day at a time. What works for you may be completely different than someone else and that’s just fine, so take what resonates and leave the rest!
Personally, a structured schedule with allocated tasks for each time does not work for me but if that’s your jam – by all means, do that. I have been keeping a running pros and cons list of this situation in my head, for example: pros – saving money on gas by not commuting or buying lattes, cons – missing seeing clients in person. Whenever I think of a con, I remind myself of a pro. I recently read this article that explained how we all might be feeling right now, and that this is temporary.
When I start to feel anxious I remind myself, “This IS temporary!” That’s my mantra right now.
Three things that may be helpful right now are structure, flexibility (yes, both!), and self-compassion.
I don’t know about you but simply not having much structure can feel disorienting. That commute and latte that I mentioned were just a part of the daily 3 weeks ago and now I am craving something consistent and familiar. Working from home now, I wake up and brew my coffee and try to keep things as normal as possible. One thing that remains consistent are meals and snacks and that feels good because I can really rely on hunger cues and what I’m in the mood for with my kitchen being a few feet away. I’m lucky to be able to work from home with a very similar schedule to what I’m used to and I know not everyone has that option so of course this isn’t going to feel true for everybody. Whatever your “norm” usually is – think about how you might bring that into this new environment.
Yes we can have structure and flexibility! What this might look like right now: let’s say your favorite brand of X is not in stock so you purchase a different one. Or there’s no bread, so you use wraps or rice instead. For the most part, we’re lucky enough that grocery stores have access to a decent amount of food right now (my fridge and pantry are fully stocked) and I haven’t had to make any adjustments. I have been getting pretty creative with using up whatever we have instead of buying new groceries which can also be fun. Depending on location and finances you may not be in the same place and my heart goes out to those that are being impacted and feeling the effects of this on a deeper level. If you are in a situation where “safe” foods aren’t available or “unsafe” foods are highly available I encourage you to lean into that discomfort (and hopefully, talk with your team) about how to navigate this uncertainty. Often, if we are feeling anxious around a particular food or food choice, it’s a sign that this may be an area to focus on and perhaps challenge disordered thoughts/eating disorder – which I completely get is very hard to do and might not be an option right now – do what you can!
If you’re struggling and having a hard time with all of this – please know that you are not alone and all of these experiences are learning opportunities. This is a time to get curious and have a non-judgemental awareness around thoughts and behaviors.
If you can’t stop thinking about food or feel like once you start to eat “you will never stop” these are likely strong signs that you are not eating enough. Try having 3 meals a day with snacks depending on hunger levels (default to your team if you are in treatment for an eating disorder) and see how that feels.
Some things that are getting me through this weird time (and might help you, too!):
Incense: my favorites are lavender and sandalwood
Yummy snacks: Hint of lime tortilla chips w/ guacamole dip, gouda cheese with an apple and crackers, pretzels and carrot “chips” with dip of choice – obsessed with this brand right now esp the Thousand Island and Ranch flavors, dried mango and tamari almonds, & this yummy granola!
Creating a relaxing & cozy environment: Everything is clean (working in a messy situation doesn’t work for me and feels chaotic), cozy blanket on my chair which is wrapped around me when cold, plants in the room, hot beverages (tea/coffee), incense burning, music playing quietly, blinds pulled up to let natural sunlight in.
My two cats are loving life right now and I will take any snuggling I can get. Here’s Treeple below joining me for virtual supervision (see picture at end of post!). Yes I am wrapped in a massive blanket.
I’m always talking with clients about staying recovery focused in between sessions (regardless of Covid-19) because truly you are recovering and living in a disordered culture. Below are some Instagram posts below that may be helpful during this time. I encourage you (and do this myself) to save posts that resonate with you so that if you’re having a hard moment and needing some support you can go back to reference them.