Looking after yourself

Eating Disorder causing stress and arguments. Mum needs to take care of herself

Caring can be exhausting

When you are caring for someone with an eating disorder, it can be very easy to put aside your own needs when responding to the crisis.

After all, as the primary carer, you are providing the care they need on their recovery journey.

For families participating in treatment models like FBT, this can be particularly intense and require carers to be on duty 24/7.

There is often anger, conflict and arguments around meals causing tension… not to mention ongoing worry, uncertainty and fear. 

Eating Disorders are not linear, and the road to recovery is not an easy one. Many carers and families experience symptoms of fatigue, trauma, insomnia, stress and more…

…all of which impact their ability to care.

Parents often put themselves last when caring for someone with an eating disorder but they need to take care of themselves.

Carer and parental guilt

Parents need to take care of themselves so they can care for their loved ones suffering with an eating disorder.

Many parents and carers experience guilt for a number of different reasons:

  • You wish your child was well, but this illness is something that can’t be fixed quickly.
  • You feel you are neglecting your other children and that you can’t devote enough time to them while a member of the family is unwell.
  • You can’t focus clearly at work because you’re overwhelmingly worried and frightened for your unwell child.

Take some time for yourself.

It’s pretty clear what the message is here. And yes, while it sounds simple, and we put it on our to-do list, more often than not we neglect to take on board suggested self-care practices. But for your own state of wellbeing and those of the other members of your family, please take some time for yourself. It will help you to care more effectively for a longer period of time, not overreact when you see early signs of relapse and help you come out of this process intact as a family and as a person.

Need some inspiration?

  • 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)
  • practise yoga and mindfulness 
  • call for help from families and friends 
  • let someone else cook some meals
  • ask others to focus on siblings, take them out for a meal and away from the family distress.

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