New year in a pandemic

For many people, January is usually a time of new year resolutions, fresh starts, and planning forward. This year, it is undoubtedly different and much stranger for everyone.

It is harder to plan ahead and keep focused on your eating disorder recovery when in the middle of a lockdown when many of the social goals and supports you rely on aren’t available and routines are disrupted. Certain foods you like or rely on in your daily meal planning may be less available when you shop and that can lead to anxiety. Planning ahead and food shopping online may help you to source what you need. It may also alert you in advance if you need to adjust and this can helps the anxiety. (See shopping tips for more).

Keeping a daily routine is also important so your eating disorder doesn’t lead you to skip meals or snacks. You may decide to adjust the times a little if you are getting up later. However, do try to spread meals and snacks out across the full day so that mealtime distress isn’t building towards the evening which is the hardest time for many people.  

School and work are now disrupted for most people during level 5.  For some people, they are not only missing the distraction and structure of work and school, they also miss the social side of things and are feeling very isolated. It can be helpful to set yourself a goal of one social contact each day. A videocall or phone call may be best to help with isolation as they are warmer forms of communication than text or email.

If you don’t have anyone you feel you can call, Bodywhys has some excellent group online support programmes- Bodywhys connect and Youth-connect. They also offer email support which has been very popular during the pandemic –


Treatment services may also now be more disrupted where you live. Be assured HSE is striving to keep all usual services going during this lockdown because the pandemic has had a major impact on mental health. However, many mental health teams have had to move back to mainly video consultations, and hospitals and GP’s are under severe pressure.

People with eating disorders do not seem to be at higher risk for COVID 19 unless they are very medically compromised, but the pandemic does appear to have triggered more disordered eating and a rise in eating disorders, isolation and distress. It is important to still look for help if you are in difficulty and need to be reviewed.


Looking ahead, and hopefully, beyond this third wave, the theme of Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2021 is ‘Binge Eating Disorder’. If you have any events, artwork that you would like us to share, please contact us at


S McDevitt