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Navigating Summer Challenges: A Guide to Self-Care

As we reach the end of May and the weather gets warmer, anxious feelings may begin to surface for people who find themselves dealing with extra triggers during the summer time. Summer can affect a lot of people, especially those going through eating disorder recovery, body dysmorphic disorder, and/or negative body image.

With summer comes new clothing styles, new routines, more ‘summer ready’ content on social media and possibly more gatherings.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about some ways to avoid triggering content, how to go about gatherings, maintaining routines, summer attire and how to support a loved one in recovery or who might be dealing with these things in this upcoming season. 

Social Media

Blocking or unfollowing content that doesn’t serve you

  • This could be done by simply blocking or muting hashtags/keywords that you don’t want to see

  • Unfollowing influencers/creators who post content that triggers you

  • Avoiding content that may promote ED behaviours, such as “what I eat in a day” videos on TikTok, anything related to restrictive dieting, dieting in general, “summer body” content, etc.

Don’t take advice from random people on social media

  • Get real advice from professionals; anyone can claim that they have a degree on TikTok or Instagram.

  • It’s okay to find support in others online, but do this with caution as people can easily spread misinformation or misleading info. 

Following more content that you do want to see

  • Following creators who are more body positive, have dealt with similar struggles, etc.

Go on a social media cleanse

  • If it’s too much for you or overwhelms you at all, take a break - there is no shame in needing a break from social media and letting yourself avoid it altogether 


  • Acknowledge your boundaries, if being at events surrounding food isn’t comfortable for you just yet then that’s okay.

  • Talk to those who you surround yourself with, if you’re comfortable about your boundaries, so that you can all plan activities that aren’t food related.

  • To name a few ideas;

  • Concerts/live music

  • Mini-golfing

  • Going on a walk/hike

  • Escape rooms

  • Crafts night

  • If you are comfortable to be around food then just know it’s okay to always leave early if you no longer feel comfortable.

  • Perhaps talking to someone you are going to the gathering with about your possible fears and worries beforehand may be helpful to ease your anxious thoughts about the event.

Summer Attire and Body Image


  • Once again, your comfort is the most important thing - work within your boundaries

  • An article I read from The Emily Program on “5 Tips For Those Recovering From Eating Disorders This Summer” puts it perfectly; There’s no need to impose a dress code on yourself every time you step out the door.

  • Wear whatever you feel best in, you can also always bring a change of clothes if you change your mind.

Body Image

  • As corny as the saying may sound, every body is a beach body - there is no one body type

  • Understand that advertisements relating to summer often show extremely unrealistic body types - many of those photos are being photoshopped to make the model look thinner, toned, tanned, etc.

What can you do to avoid negative body image?

  • Engage in positive self-talk and positive affirmations, some examples are shown in the following article: Positive self-talk/affirmations

  • Recognize patterns

  • Do you find that after you scroll through instagram you tend to have more negative thoughts about your body image? Acknowledging where the thoughts might be stemming from will allow you to stop it at the root cause

  • Acknowledge your triggers and work around them. A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) tool that is very helpful is as follows: write down the trigger, the automatic thought, and the new thought you have when you look back and rationalize your thinking.

Maintaining Routine

Whether you already have a plan created in treatment with a nutritionist, a psychotherapist, etc. or this is the first time you’re going by one, it can be hard to stick with one in the summer with some people going on vacation, leaving their regular routine of work or school for summer break, etc.

Maintain structure

  • If you had a certain meal plan you were following or full day schedule of when to eat, sleep or exercise then keep that to the best of your ability - this would be something to talk to a trusted loved one or who you may have gone through treatment with (a therapist, counsellor, etc.) on how to continue doing this in the summer.


It’s important to understand that if things become too overwhelming or you feel you need to return to treatment for any reason, that is more than okay. At the end of the day it is what is best for you and your recovery that’s the most important. 

Try going to a support group; here is a link to online support services offered through Body Brave.

The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) also provides a list of eating disorder community groups.

How do I support a loved one who may be facing these challenges?

Take the time to understand what they are dealing with, what their triggers may be and their boundaries.

Be mindful

  • You may not understand why something affects the person so take the time to allow them to explain that to you as well as doing your own research about the topic

  • You can always start by asking how you can support them

  • If someone feels comfortable enough to express their needs and struggles to you, understand that this takes a lot of courage and is a huge aspect of their recovery

Promoting self-care

  • Encourage your loved one to be kind to themselves, to take care of their mental health, perhaps suggest doing self-care activities together can be helpful

For more resources and information surrounding these topics feel free to go to the following links as well:

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