Hope Virgo, Author and Mental Health Campaigner, Twitter: @hopevirgo, Instagram @hopevirgo_

Health on Female First

Health on Female First

It is everywhere! #CoronaVirus, #Covid19… and the uncertainty is rising! People fighting for themselves to stock pile, people panicking left right and centre. All these words and more are triggering anxiety, worrying people and increasing people who feel so scared. Whilst this fear may be justified it is so important that we take a step back and think.

As someone who has had anorexia in the past and now manages my recovery it is times like this that I have to be really careful in recovery. My way of coping at first is to go in to denial, yes that’s right! Convince myself that I am fine and nothing will happen. After a few days that goes. Then it hits me. The fear in me about my recovery, my freelance work and those around me. I still find it hard to talk as everyone talks to me about their worries, fears and mine go out the window.

With anorexia the way it tells you to cope with these times of uncertainty is to stop eating. To start restricting because then everything will be okay. You preoccupy your mind with thinking about food and calories with this inbuilt fear that when we potentially have to self-isolate or get quarantined what do we do?

Will the eating disorder suck us in and convince us we can’t eat if we aren’t out?

Will it tell us that if we stop eating the world will be fixed?

At the moment it can feel quite overwhelming with everything going on; that is a reality. But there are things we can do alleviate this. Doing these things are not selfish but important for us and those around us.

1. Communicate; this is key! Keep talking, share your worries! If you are avoiding being outside, you can still video call so try this!

2. Stop looking at the news, especially on social media! Focus your efforts on self-care and if you want to be kept up to date look at PHE or the NHS website.

3. Have a shower and get dressed; this may seem silly, but if we are self-isolating, or feeling down I know I would consider spending my entire time in my pjs! With my eating disorder recovery, I also know that when times get stressful my bad body image amplifies so a way of helping this is to be dressed and clean. Keep clean and get dressed each day!

4. Write your thoughts down and your worries. This will help you iron out what is out of your control and help to lessen rumination. I know for me I can get in to bed and spend hours going over and over things in my head, constantly ruminating, wondering about the day, thinking about who I saw, what I said, this isn’t helpful for anyone.

5. Make sure you are drinking enough water and staying hydrated. Sometimes it is these day to day activities that we forget. If you are likely to do that please write a routine to make sure you don’t.

Don’t beat yourself up for feeling stressed or overwhelmed. You are allowed to feel this, just make sure you are processing and being kind to yourself


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