When caring from someone with an eating disorder, it is very easy to respond to the crisis, put aside all personal needs to provide the care they need. For families who are participating in treatment models like FBT, this can be particularly intense and require carers to be on duty 24/7. Many of us can sustain this for a period of time and then we can start to experience symptoms of fatigue, trauma, insomnia, stress and more which then inversely impact on our ability to care as effectively as we could.
Thus, if families and carers do nothing else after reading our website – attend to your own state of well being and those of the other members of your family. It will enable you to care more effectively for a longer period of time, not overreact when you see early signs of relapse and come out of this process intact as a family and as a person.
Strategies for this are highly individualised. Ideas may be
- take time for hobbies or interests that nourish you
- get a massage
- catch up with a friend for coffee
- put the headphones on and listen to inspiring music
- negotiate nights away between your spouse and you (going away together may be impossible for a while)
- yoga and mindfulness has been found to be very helpful in these situations
- call for help from families and friends – and be specific
- let someone else cook some meals (and tell them to make them high calorie)
Sometimes activities that may have been a source of enjoyment or relaxation for us previously, e.g. travel, meals out, family gatherings take on a more stressful tenor with an eating disorder in the family. Letting go of some of these activities, in the knowledge that future opportunities will return, can be beneficial.