Once again, it has happened. Have you seen it? The flip flops and sand buckets are off to the side with clearance stickers and notebooks and pencils have replaced them on the shelf. Back to school is in full swing.
And as soon as the first school bell rings, those same shelves will transition once again to pumpkins and costumes and, dare I say it, even lights and trees!
It is amazing how quickly and easily the stores transition from one season to the next.
Alas, transitions are often not quite as effortless for people. In fact, transitions can be quite stressful. We see it frequently. The stress from transitions, like back to school, sparks, refuels or explodes an eating disorder.
And this is where families, friends and teachers need to be alert.
How can you help?
· Encourage good habits
Proper nutrition, sleep habits and self-care all facilitate improved academic performance and will improve the ability to manage food during the transition back to school.
· Go out of your way to check in a little more often-extra support is important
During stressful times, people may start or increase unhealthy behaviors. Someone who has an eating disorder and has been doing well may even relapse.
So go ahead and make that extra call or send another text. Ask about that class that’s challenging. Ask what tests or projects are coming this week so you can follow up afterwards to see how they went. Laugh about little things that just the two of you share. Tell them how proud you are. Find little ways to connect. Ways to tell them that you love them, no matter what.
· Reach out and help them get connected to appropriate resources.
If they already have an eating disorder or other diagnosis, establish contact with the counseling center and/or community providers where they will be attending school.
· If you notice signs, early intervention is key to limiting the scope of the illness.
Watch for signs/symptoms.
Contact a treatment facility for an assessment.
You can reach The Center for Balanced Living by calling 614.896.8222.
We will offer a special program in December just for college students returning home on holiday break. The website will have all of the details.
Educate yourself. (FED program, FED manual, Eating Disorders from the Inside Out, National Eating Disorder Association, Puzzling Symptoms: Eating Disorders and the Brain, Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment FEAST)
We wish you the best this school-year. We are here to help if you need us.
And rest assured, January will be here before you know it and those lights and trees will be replaced by flip flops and sand buckets once again.