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Self Care

5 Tips for the New Year From Eating Recovery Center Leaders

Although 2020 is officially behind us, starting a new year can trigger unnecessary stress from diet talk and posts about New Year's resolutions.

As we keep moving forward into 2021, we want you to feel empowered, equipped and supported. We've compiled some helpful tips from Eating Recovery Center leaders to help you navigate your way through the year ahead.


“Drop the comparisons. There will always be someone ahead of you and someone behind you on the path. Use this year to focus on your own wellness. Spend less energy worrying about what everyone else around you is doing.”

- Kaitlin Slaven, MD, Psychiatrist at ERC Baltimore


“Barriers and roadblocks will get in the way—no matter what! Troubleshoot in advance using the 'Cope Ahead' skill from Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Think through potential triggers that might arise (even considering the “worst case scenario”), write in detail how you will respond skillfully, and vividly imagine yourself coping effectively. You may find it helpful to share your 'Cope Ahead' plan with a support person."

- Diana J. Tieger, PsyD, Clinical Director, ERC Ohio


“I tend to stay away from setting large resolutions for the new year. Instead, I encourage doing a values recheck and then follow it up every one or two months throughout the year. Values are the pillars in which we live our lives and typically stay pretty similar throughout our life. When we pull away from our core values, we tend to feel more disconnected and can also lead to increased struggles and ability to cope.

Once I’ve identified one or two values that might need some more reconnection, I encourage setting one or two small goals for each that are realistic and attainable. When we are able to accomplish small goals, which lead us toward our values, it helps build balance in our life and ability to more effectively cope with life’s obstacles.

Value of growth example: Urge to sign up for online classes and read numerous books. Realistically, start with listening to three Ted talks a week for one month, aim to read a book the second month, and build from there."

- Jennifer McAdams, MA, LCPC, CEDS-S, Clinical Director of Eating Disorder Services, Chicago


“Reevaluate and prioritize how you want to use social media. Unfollow accounts or 'friends' that focus on unattainable body image, diet culture and body shaming. Use the time you would have spent scrolling on social media to create body-positive messages on or off social media focused on strength and acceptance.

Commit to trying not to negatively talk about food or bodies (including your own) in front of children, and use your voice to provide feedback to others who may be doing so around you.”

- Heather Dlugosz, MD, FAPA, CEDS, Associate Medical Director, Midwest Region


“Timing: Just because the calendar says it’s a new year doesn’t mean the timing is right to make big changes. Do some self-reflection and be honest about where you are at in your recovery. Break down bigger goals into smaller goals. Create SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound.

Give yourself some grace. You may not achieve your goal perfectly and that’s ok. We all make mistakes and it’s important to reflect on what happened, forgive yourself, and try again.”

- Rebecca Hansen, PhD, Clinical Manager of Eating Disorder Services, Chicago 


Find more inspiration on the Eating Recovery Center blog.

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