Getting ready to go back to school is a stressful time for everyone, but for those struggling with eating disorders, it can be anxiety-inducing, hectic, and overwhelming. From new schedules to managing meal plans in a new environment, the change from summer to school can pose new challenges. By planning, practicing, and getting support, those in eating disorder recovery can get back to school with confidence.
Back to School Planning
Being prepared for key situations at school can be extremely beneficial in eating disorder recovery. Situations that are helpful to plan for include snack breaks, lunch, dormitory meals, and stressful moments like tests or debates. For food-related moments during school, the most important thing for those in eating disorder recovery is to stick to their meal plan.
In elementary, middle, or high school, those in recovery can pack lunches that work for their meal plan or they can look at the lunch menu the day before to plan what they will eat the following day. Knowing what meals will come at school can alleviate stress and allow individuals to plan for their meals and stick to recovery. For those in college, dormitory food and eating food in a large cafeteria can be a source of stress. Before going to college, it may be helpful to think of what your meals will look like. Some colleges even allow non-students to eat at their dormitories and cafeterias–if your college offers this, it may be helpful to eat a meal there prior to the start of school. That way, you can start school knowing what to expect.