December 2016 - Monthly News & Tips
IN THIS ISSUE
The first legislation aimed at helping people struggling with eating disorders has passed in Congress. The 21st Century Cures Act, which includes language from The Anna Westin Act, passed on December 7th with a vote of 94-5 in the Senate after also receiving overwhelming bipartisan support in the House last week. Next stop, President Obama's desk to be signed into law!
Kitty Westin, who lost her daughter Anna to anorexia 17 years ago played a huge role in advocating for the bill. "No longer will families have to suffer the death of a child because they couldn't access quality care," she said.
See our press release for the full story.
Most people associate the holidays with joy and celebration, but if you're struggling with an eating disorder, this time of year could be stressful, regardless of where you are in treatment.
If you have a big family, you can probably expect to encounter a large event centered around food. On the flip side, if you don't have a big family or group of close friends, you may experience loneliness and isolation. Either circumstance can be tough when you are coping with food issues.
There are plenty of stressors leading up to the holidays as well. If you work in an office setting, you might see cookies and chocolate everywhere you turn. Also, your friends and family will inevitably talk about their weight, body size, and shape this time of year.
Since it's hard to avoid being surrounded by food and body talk, here are some tips for geting through the holidays.
- Remember it's not just you. Anyone suffering from an eating disorder feels anxious this time of year. A hyperfocus on food, body size, and shape are bound to make things harder.
- Understand you're going to get through it, but don't do it alone. It's a great time to reach out to your social groups, therapy structures, friends and family, or other community structures for support. Let them know you may need a little bit of extra are this time of year.
- Make more therapy appointments this month. If you've been through a treatment program, it's a good time to refresh the skills you've learned. Review the ones that have helped you the most and keep them top-of-mind.
- For families: spend more time doing non-food-oriented activities. For friends: plan a get-together and do something other than eat and talk about your bodies. Include more distractions, like participating in community work, reading books, or watching movies. If you have a hobby, it's a great time to pull it out.
Remember, you got through it last year and the year before. It's another cycle of our lives and if we manage it right, we can focus on it being more festive and less stressful this year.
Mark Warren, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, The Emily Program
Edie Brennan, Yoga Instructor, Integrative Services in St. Paul, MN
Edie Brennan joined The Emily Program in August of 2011 because of the impact our organization had on her life as a former client.
Though she never could have imagined she would be back one day as a yoga instructor, she is grateful every day that she has the opportunity to interact with so many brave, strong, and inspiring people on their recovery journey.
"It's hands-down what keeps me coming back every day," said Edie.
Edie spends her days leading yoga groups for The Emily Program's clients in all levels of care, from outpatient to 24/7 residential programs. Though each class is unique depending on the clients' levels of care, she teaches clients postures, yoga sequences and breathing exercises to connect their mind and body
In class, she gets many requests for flowing movement to help focus the mind, mountain pose for grounding, and spinal twists to support digestion.
"It is important to know that there is not one pose or focus that works for everyone," she said. "The yoga practice is a time to figure out what works best for you."
When she's not in class, Edie is busy assisting The Emily Program's Director Nutrition and Yoga Services with program support, such as curriculum development and training new instructors.
TEP: Why is yoga an important part of treatment?
Edie: Yoga is important for so many reasons, but one in particular is it can be a reintroduction into one's body. In my classes and as a yoga team, we talk very openly in groups about challenges that can arise from checking back into your body. Throughout class there are different coping skills that are offered to help manage and support the possibility of neutral, positive, or negative responses without reacting or attaching to it.
TEP: What's one thing you hope clients take away?
Edie: The yoga practice is yours! Yours to like, dislike or explore, and there is no right or wrong way to do yoga. I will often say my ideal class as an instructor is looking around and everyone is doing something different because that tells me you're listening to YOUR body!
TEP: Favorite holiday tradition?
Edie: I enjoy the countdown to Christmas! I love the smells of Christmas (especially pine trees), decorating the tree and baking. Currently, my son and I are testing out cookie recipes to make Santa the best cookies ever!
'Tis the season for open enrollment—your once-a-year chance to make choices and changes to ensure your health insurance plan is tailored to your needs.
Navigating your options can be complex and confusing. Below are some tips that might help.
Know when your open enrollment period begins and ends.
- Enrollment varies at workplaces, but for most it's a 30-day period in the fall.
- For state health exchanges, open enrollment for 2017 begins November 1, 2016 and ends January 31, 2017. December 15, 2016 is the last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2017. Details about enrollment can be found at healthcare.gov.
Re-examine your benefit needs.
- Learn the nuts and bolts of each plan available to you so you can pick the one that best fits your needs.
- Your employer or state health exchange may have an online tool to help you compare plan choices. The Emily Program also has a tool if you're looking for a plan that offers the most comprehensive eating disorder treatment plan.
Satisfied with your current plan?
It's important to make sure the plan is still right for you. Ask yourself:
- What challenges did I have in 2016? Was I able to get the care I needed easily or was I limited by my network?
- What are my health care priorities for the coming year? Make sure your plan comprehensively covers the treatments you rely upon now or may need in the future.
Budget for future health care costs.
- Consider a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). Both health funds save you money to pay for certain medical expenses tax-free.
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