Summer is here! This means events such as vacations, camps, and other outdoor activities going on during the warm months.
For someone with an eating disorder, this can also be a time of stress and anxiety.
Going on vacation with an eating disorder can present many challenges. These struggles may be unknown to someone not struggling. The truth-of-the-matter is being in a different environment is daunting to someone in recovery. You are surrounded by people with limited alone time. There are often body image triggers present. Beach-ware is an intimidating factor.
In addition, those struggling are exposed to different foods that may not be current in their daily routines. These are all real concerns for those who are working to gain peace with the mind and body from eating disorder thoughts.
A primary focus during sessions with clients, in the weeks leading up to summer, are surrounded by conversation about vacation preparation.
Here are a few of the things we chat about with our clients to get ready for summer vacations!
1. Plan ahead.
- Will you be renting a house?
- Will you be cooking some dinners at home or going out to eat for most/all meals?
- What type of cuisine will be available? Will it be mostly “safe” foods or “challenge” foods?
How active will you be on this trip? Is it important to pack extra snacks?
2. Prepare Fun Activities.
- Play games!
- Go putt-putt golfing
- Drive go-karts
- Go parasailing
3. Bring a book or other hobbies.
Make sure to block off some time to decompress by yourself, if this is something you enjoy. Time alone is always a good time to process. Take a little time to breathe and prepare for more time with the family. This is especially important if you are sharing a house or hotel with other people. If you thrive on having time alone and down-time have a few options you can do.
- Read a good book
- Use a coloring book
- Listen to some music or a podcast
- Work on any sort of project that makes you happy.
4. Set an intention for the trip.
Setting an intention for a trip provides the purpose and focus to what there is to appreciate and receive from the time away. Perhaps an intention might be to spend time with a family member you are not able to see often. Practice meditation. Try something new. Create lasting memories. Focus on thankfulness during this time. Whatever the goal of the trip may be, discuss with your treatment team ahead of time and create a visual list that you can bring with you. Read it each morning to help set focus for the day. Journaling may also help to refocus and jot down thoughts about how each day has been during the trip.
5. Reach out for support.
Let your treatment team, friends and family know how they can help you while you take a vacation. Have a conversation with your spouse, mom or dad about how they can best help you if you run into any challenges during the time away. Having a strategy in place ahead of time can help tremendously if you struggle while you are there. By putting these practical tips into place, it makes for difficult situations to be so much more enjoyable while away!
If you desire any additional support and encouragement while preparing for vacation, please click here or call (512) 693-7045 to schedule an appointment today!
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.