Summertime is one of the most vibrant times of the year.
For many people, the summer months bring an abundance of sunshine, countless social gatherings and a wide variety of recreational activities. The majority of people look forward to the summer months, often daydreaming about this season throughout the rest of the year.
For those struggling with an eating disorder, though, approaching these months isn’t always so simple. It can very well still be full of memorable and enjoyable experiences, but it will also be full of unique challenges that other people may not relate to. By gaining a better understanding of the different ways that summertime can impact you while you’re struggling with an eating disorder, you can better prepare yourself for the seasons.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how summertime can affect those suffering from an eating disorder as well as give you some tips for navigating these months.
What Causes Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are complex mental health condition that often develops as the result of multiple influential factors. Depending on a person’s unique situation, there could be a variety of chronic psychological or environmental elements that contribute to the development of an eating disorder.
Potential contributing factors include:
- Genetics (this is not a sole determining factor)
- Pre-existing mental disorders or other disorders
- Cultural or familial expectations and influences
- Significant life changes (especially those with appearance pressure, such as weddings or postpartum)
- Social media influences (and other forms of unrealistic body ideal promotion)
- Neurobiological factors like an imbalance in brain chemistry
Every individual’s experience with an eating disorder is a little different, and the various prompts and situations that trigger them will be unique to those personal experiences.
How Summer Affects Eating Disorders
The most popular summer celebrations and holidays revolve around large quantities of food and often alcohol. It seems around every turn there’s a trigger.
Some of the most common triggers that emerge during this season include:
- Seasonal clothing where more skin is exposed
- The promotion of restrictive behaviors to prepare for a “summer body”
- Body image and swimsuit pressures
- Social comparisons (in person as well as through social media)
- Summer food rituals (holidays, food-eating contests, summer weddings, etc.)
These triggers can lead to the exacerbation of body dissatisfaction or beliefs around self-worth, restrictive or other unhealthy eating behaviors, as well as the worsening of an existing disorder.
Summertime can be a season of freedom and joy, but it can be difficult for those struggling with an eating disorder. The good news is that you can set yourself up to begin healing, thrive and enjoy the season by putting a few strategies in place.
Tips for Navigating Eating Disorders During the Summer
The approach of summer might feel more stressful than exciting, and that’s okay. Don’t bully yourself for lacking some of the enthusiasm your peers share. Rather, devote your time and your energy to helping yourself along the journey to healing.
These simple strategies can help you more easily navigate the summer months:
- Wear clothes that fit comfortably and that you feel good in
- Surround yourself with supportive family and friends
- Limit your social media use and unfollow triggering people or pages
- Remember your recovery goals and celebrate all progress
- Lean into a professional support system
These tips can be beneficial to your recovery but are not a substitute for professional help.
If you or someone you love has developed an unhealthy or otherwise harmful relationship with food, send our team a message here at Seeds of Hope.
Speak with an Advisor Today
At Seeds of Hope, it’s our mission to help individuals like yourself find freedom from eating disorders and build a joyful, healthy relationship with food that lasts a lifetime.
We work with both teens and adults, and our compassionate medical team specializes in helping individuals overcome a variety of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and more.
Your safety, comfort and recovery are our priorities. Whatever phase of life you’re in, however long you’ve been struggling with an eating disorder, you are supported here.
When you’re ready to start healing, we’re ready to help.
Call us today to get started.