Positive Developments

Despite the range of difficulties that have emerged during the pandemic, some positives have been identified.

  1. Greater connection with family, more time for self-care, and motivation to recover (Termorshuizen 2020; Shaw 2021)
  2. Positive role of social media in maintaining and facilitating social connections, accessing support amongst eating disorder communities, following others’ journeys to/of recovery. Social distancing leading to reduced social comparisons and in turn, lower anxiety (Branley-Bell & Talbot 2020; Nutley 2021; Vuillier et al 2021)
  3. Family trying to bond, trying to challenge some eating disorder behaviours in a supportive way, supportive family members as protective, talking as key (Fernández‐Aranda, Casas, Claes et al 2020; Shaw 2021; Vuillier 2021)
  4. Experiences of increased self-efficacy, seeking alternative practical coping strategies, gratitude for increased at home time (Clark Bryan 2020)
  5. Lockdown as a catalyst for recovery, for some people (Brown 2021)
  6. More time for healing and self-care, reaching out more for support and fewer worries related to shopping, events, meetings and work (McCombie et al 2020)
  7. Fewer stress provoking situations, strong therapeutic relationship (Vuillier 2021)
  8. Telehealth as convenient, a tool that facilitates engagement and attendance. Consistent or increased motivation to participate in treatment. Easier to schedule and plan meals and snacks at home. (Frayn 2021)
  9. Integrity of service maintained, despite challenges. Feeling less build up and apprehension about attending appointments. Reduced travel time and costs, feeling less drained (Shaw 2021)
  10. In Italy, patients reported that PTSD and eating disorder symptoms improved as lockdown restrictions were eased (Nisticò 2021)
  11. Paying attention to own needs, more autonomy and self-organisation skills, such as planning a daily structure and completing school work. More family time, slowing down for the whole family, less school and social stress (Zeiler 2021)