The stress of going back to school and fitting in can be difficult, and this can lead to unhealthy behaviors as a way to cope. Many teens are pressured to excel in all aspects of their lives, from academics to athletics. All the pressure and tasks can take a toll on one's mental health.
The teen years are a time of significant change and challenges. Academic, Social pressure and relationship concerns all can trigger eating disorder habits. One’s mental health can greatly impact one’s physical health. The teen years also consist of major changes in both body and brain development. Therefore, one needs to find a healthy way to stay on track with their meal plan and support team during this time. All of these upcoming challenges can contribute to internal turmoil and emotional dysregulation.
The teen years can greatly contribute to eating disorder behaviors. Significant life changes have been proven to be associated with the onset of eating disorders (Saiber, n.d.)
Here are some ways to maintain recovery while attending school:
Maintain Contact with your Treatment Team By keeping up on your treatment plan one can learn to adjust food schedules, meal plans, and coping skills for the near year. One’s treatment team is the most powerful form of support to help one stay healthy and well during the school year. Food is fuel for both your body, brain, and soul. By having a great treatment team one can beat school stress, enhance grades, regain focus, and make better social connections throughout the year (Saiber, n.d.).
Enhance coping skills Positive coping skills can be helpful to prevent one from engaging in eating disorder behaviors. Good coping skills can also enhance one’s sense of peace and happiness throughout the year. Coping mechanisms such as journaling, meditation, reading, deep breathing, and going for a walk can help one handle the challenging times in life without self-destructive behaviors (Saiber, n.d.).
Maintain your personal Nutrition Plan
By following a meal plan set up by a team of professionals one can save time, relieve stress, and stay on track without risking one’s overall health or well-being during stressful or busy times. Stay up to date with your treatment team to establish nutrition plans and positive coping skills to overcome the yearly stress. Prepare meals in advance and carry snacks as needed (Stice et al., 2013).
Establish a Support System in and out of class The second way to support your recovery during the new school year is to establish a support system. Another great form of social support is through eating disorder support groups. Many support groups meet weekly to keep each other motivated to stay on track with recovery (Saiber, n.d.).
By setting boundaries one can limit the amount of stress in their life. Boundaries can help one not overwhelm their schedule and free time. In addition, setting a boundary can help one stick to their recovery plan (Stice et al., 2013).
Try to maintain a regular schedule
Set alarms to stay on track with food schedules and tasks throughout the day. Set an alarm to remind yourself of meal times, snack times, medication times, self-care times, and upcoming tasks (Stice et al., 2013).
Learn your triggers
By acknowledging one's triggers you can use proper coping skills in place and reduce relapses. By having a plan in place and a meal plan to follow one can handle the stress without eating disorder behavior (Stice et al., 2013).
Don’t be afraid to take a break. Never feel bad for taking the rest you need to do your best and function. You can pick back up where you left off after you recharge (Saiber, n.d.).
Remind yourself of how important recovery is One’s academic and social performance in school greatly depends on one’s health. Recovery leads you to a path of wellbeing, greater freedom, and overall happiness. An eating disorder can negatively impact health and isolate one from all the joyful things in everyday life (Stice et al., 2013).
Seek support now If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder please reach out and we can help. School, health, connections, and wellness all depend on overcoming eating disorder habits. Contact us at 713.997.9613 or visit the website at https://www.jsechinutritiontherapy.com and book an appointment.
Saiber, T. (n.d.). About eating disorders. Eating Disorder Foundation.org. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://eatingdisorderfoundation.org/learn-more/about-eating-disorders/ Stice, E., Becker, C. B., & Yokum, S. (2013, July). Eating disorder prevention: Current evidence-base and future directions. The International journal of eating disorders. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926692/