This past week, the BC government revealed the very first stages of lifting the restrictions that have been in place for the past 2 months. Soon, it appears, people will be able to start seeing a few more people and reconnecting with their loved ones and some may be able to return to work. I know for myself it has brought up a lot of conflicting feelings. It is funny how for the past two months we have all been desperate to have life feel normal again and then at the first mention of it many people are feeling like all they want to do is retreat into the familiar experience of isolation. It is like we want connection desperately and yet this new world we are going to enter into feels really unpredictable and scary. There are a few things that have been coming up a lot with my clients lately and I thought it important to address them here.
Listen To What Feels Right: Just because some restrictions are lifting doesn’t mean you have to do anything differently in your life right now. You get to decide what feels right and safe for you. Maybe that is including more people in your life and maybe it’s not. Maybe it is choosing to work out of the office, or maybe it’s asking to keep working from home (assuming that’s an option). You need to listen to what feels right for you and honor it. If you don’t, your anxiety will skyrocket and you will be more likely to engage in disordered behaviors as a way to cope.
Drop The Weight Conversation: There is far too much talk right now going around about weight gain during quarantine. I am going to stress the importance of setting a boundary right now most importantly with yourself and also with others. Whether you did or did not gain weight during isolation is irrelevant. You were in a situation that was entirely unpredictable, really scary, and completely foreign. The goal was to get through it without getting Covid and to keep yourself and others safe. As the world slowly opens back up, focus on just how great it feels to give a loved one an in-person hug. Honor that a lot more important things happened during your time in isolation, including having to be your main support system and changing every single thing about how your life once looked. If you chalk up this whole experience to weight (gained or lost) you will lose the important lessons you learnt and neglect the fact that you emotionally made it through an exceptionally challenging experience.
Make Space To Heal: going through this experience has had an effect on everyone. I truly don’t believe anybody is coming out of this the same as they were before. It has been hard having to adjust to what life looks like when living through a global pandemic and you have been challenged in ways you never could have expected. So on top of focusing on recovering from your eating disorder, give yourself time to focus on recovering from this experience. Try to recognize the ways you are different and do so without judgment. Your job was to survive and you did. Now is the time to heal so that you can once again focus on thriving.
The world is likely to look and feel different as we enter back into it after being in isolation. Be good to yourself and make sure you prioritize listening to yourself and your needs above anything else.