As we head into summer and a reopening I think it is important that we all set some time aside to consider what it is we need to navigate these next few months as kindly and compassionately as possible. When you struggle with an eating disorder, Summer can be a more triggering time of year. More outdoor gatherings, beach days and often lots of socializing with food, are just some of the things can cause an increase in anxiety in this population. People seem to be vacillating between craving getting back to more normal behaviors and also feeling really overwhelmed by this transition out of lockdown and forced isolation into more a “normal” social life. Now is a time for self-care in ways that are really intentional and that meet the needs we have right now. We have all changed, and our needs may have changed over this past year. If we head into this season not recognizing that, we might be setting ourselves up to struggle more than necessary. Instead I would recommend taking some time today or this week to think about what would make this transition easier on you and how you can care for your needs instead of abandon yourself. When it comes to self-care, keep in mind that there are two different types that both need to be prioritized: restorative self-care and productive self-care. Restorative forms of self-care are the ways you care for yourself that are about slowing down, releasing pressure, tuning in etc. These are things like giving yourself permission to stay in bed all day, turning your phone off, meeting with good friends for tea, taking a long bath, hanging out in nature, journaling etc. Productive forms of self-care are the ways you care for yourself that are about ensuring your needs are met and your environment feels safe and conducive to your wellbeing. These are things like making your meal plan, grocery shopping, doing your laundry and putting it away, sleep hygiene, saying no to toxic relationships/expectations/habits etc. Both of these forms of self-care are required for us to feel at our best. It is normal and healthy to have times where one form of self-care if prioritized over the other as long as we remind ourselves to do both when possible.