Did you know February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Month? In honor of this month, here are some activities to raise awareness of eating disorders, decrease stigma, and promote recovery.
Attend a Local Event
Many organizations are hosting events to promote this month. Some events are focused on raising awareness, or educating the public. Others discuss recovery and are aimed at the families affected by these disorders. You should attend whatever event is most helpful for you. Afterwards, you can share the insights you gain with friends and family members. This is a great way to raise awareness!
Avoid Commenting on Appearance
Make an effort to avoid language that emphasizes body size and shape this month. Instead, focus on positive qualities in others that don’t relate to appearance. Compliment people for their talent, intelligence, honesty, and other traits.
Sponsor Advocacy Organizations
There are many organizations that support individuals struggling with eating disorders, advocate for awareness, and work towards ending stigma. Consider donating to an organization of your choice this month. You could also participate in a run, walk, or other charitable event, such as the NEDA Walk.
Spread Body Positive Messages
Whether you do this online or in-person, you will be helping to make the world a more body-positive place! Here are some ideas:
- Share a body-positive post on social media. You could share an informational video, inspirational quote, or anything else that promotes body positivity.
- Share eating disorder facts on social media.
- Talk with friends or family members about body image. If you are a parent, now is a great time to discuss body image with your children.
- Write a body-positive message and leave it somewhere for a friend, family member, or stranger to find. The organization Operation Beautiful does this already, but you can contribute to their cause with your own encouraging messages!
Share Your Own Story
If you have experienced an eating disorder and feel comfortable sharing your experience, consider doing so this month. This doesn’t necessarily mean posting on social media or telling all of your friends and relatives. Sharing your story could be as simple as talking to a friend who seems to be showing signs of an eating disorder. Your story may inspire someone on their own recovery journey.
Check in with Friends and Family
Have you ever considered that you might know someone who is quietly struggling without anyone noticing? You could reach out to a friend who seems dissatisfied with his body image, or check in with your child to see how she feels about her appearance. Your efforts may lead someone to seek treatment for an eating disorder, or help them identify negative thought patterns about their own body that need to be changed into positive ones.
Educate Yourself about Eating Disorders
Take time this month to learn about eating disorder types, symptoms, health consequences, and recovery. The more you know about these life-threatening illnesses, the better prepared you will be to help someone who is struggling. Visit our Education Center for free resources about each type of eating disorder.
Of course, National Eating Disorders Awareness Month isn’t the only time to practice these activities. We should be advocating for awareness year-round.
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one is having eating disorder symptoms, it’s important to address this early. Taking a self-assessment is a good first step to seeing whether it could be an eating disorder.