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3 Back to School Tips While Recovering from an Eating Disorder

As Summer is coming to an end, a lot of us are preparing to head back to school. For those recovering from eating disorders and trauma, this could be an added stressor, making this time of year even more challenging. Going back to school could potentially re-introduce many triggers for young girls, so it’s important to be resilient. To be resilient is to be able to quickly recover from difficulties, to adapt, to have the courage to face stress and push forward. Here are some tips to help you as you return back to school.

Go in with a plan

To maintain your recovery progress as you go back to school, it’s essential to create a plan with your parents, therapist, and/or treatment team (like a Coach here at Empowered!) that prioritizes both your physical and mental health. Identify what could potentially trigger you, and ways you can overcome these situations in advance. For instance, maybe you are worried about eating in a large cafeteria, and prefer somewhere more quiet. When I was in high school, we had options to choose where we ate lunch besides the cafeteria - like the library or the lobby. Creating a game plan to overcome these situations and adapt is essential to be resilient as you head back to school.

It’s also important to communicate with your school and counselors. Schools should be able to provide any accommodations needed, such as easing into coursework, allowing a student to eat in class, provide another location for lunch if the cafeteria is overwhelming, and meeting with counselors more frequently. Modifications can be made throughout the school year as necessary while on your recovery journey.

Have a support system

Having a friend or two that you know you can count on is going to be so important as you head back to school. They’re there to support and encourage you throughout your recovery during the school year, especially if things were to get difficult or challenging. From eating at lunch together to helping one another keep up with classes to talking about your problems, your friends have your back, and can even help give you the courage to be resilient.

Your support system can also include teachers! I know when I was in high school, I had a few teachers that I trusted who knew me pretty well. Get to know your teachers, and have your teachers get to know you! Building these connections are not only great for your future, but are also important throughout the school year - whether it be receiving extra help, or just a friendly chat between classes. If a teacher knows you are going through recovery, they can provide additional support and guidance.

Make time for self-care

It’s no surprise that the school year can get pretty busy and stressful at times. Nonetheless, it’s important to also make time for self-care and hobbies. Finding time to care for yourself and do something you enjoy will help you destress and feel less overwhelmed, and also help you avoid burnout. Taking the time to rest and recover are key to helping you remain resilient throughout this upcoming school year.

With these three simple tips to keep in mind, you can be resilient on your recovery journey throughout the school year!

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