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How Working from Home Affected My Eating Disorder Recovery

June 2, 2020 Hollay Ghadery

I've had a home office for over a decade--long before it became a forced norm of the COVID-19 pandemic--and during this time, I noticed how working from home affected my eating disorder recovery. It wasn't a smooth road, but with a few strategies, I learned how to support my eating disorder (ED) recovery with healthy habits.

How Working from Home Threatened My Eating Disorder Recovery

In a previous blog, I talked about how important healthy distraction has been to my recovery. Unfortunately, when working from home, there is precious little healthy distraction. Sure, there's social media and seemingly endless daytime courtroom TV shows, but in my experience, healthy distractions like sitting in the sun with a good book aren't high on the priority list when you're supposed to be working. 

However, it is considerably easier to convince yourself to just check Instagram for a quick second and then be dragged into the social-vortex only to emerge an hour later feeling perplexed, and, thanks to the influx of Insta-perfect bodies, pretty bad about yourself. 

In the first year of working from home, my eating disorder recovery suffered. I never relapsed, exactly, but I know I didn't get as far ahead as I could have if I'd known the simple strategies I discovered in the subsequent years.

My Best Tip for Working from Home During Eating Disorder Recovery

Don't rely on willpower. When it comes to my recovery, I've learned my willpower can only get me so far. This is why I don't rely on my willpower to see me through the midday crash, a stressful meeting, or a crunch deadline. As a former bulimic, in those first years of working from home, I didn't assume that I'd simply be able to resist chocolate, candy, or chips in the house. I didn't keep them in the house, period. 

Instead, I made sure my kitchen was packed with healthy snacks and herbal teas. I put a note on my fridge reminding me to drink water. I had another note on my fridge reminding me to get outside for a few minutes--even if it's just to hang up some laundry or get the mail. 

I schedule an hour every workday where I do something that recharges my parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for helping the body rejuvenate and digest. I may read, have a bath, or do some gentle yoga, but I make it a non-negotiable part of my continued recovery. 

What's important to notice is that I don't depend on my willpower though. No amount of willpower can combat mental illness. In fact, even people without mental illness can't always muscle through on willpower alone. Being stressed and tired is part of life, and no one can escape the traps of being human. So, don't try to escape them. Just plan for them.

How has working from home affected your eating disorder recovery? Share in the comments.

APA Reference
Ghadery, H. (2020, June 2). How Working from Home Affected My Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 13 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2020/6/how-working-from-home-affected-my-eating-disorder-recovery



Author: Hollay Ghadery

Hollay Ghadery is a writer and editor living in Ontario, Canada. She has a book of non-fiction set to be published by Guernica Editions in 2021. The work dives into the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women. Connect with Hollay on her website, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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