Best care package ideas for a person who is in an eating disorder treatment facility

When a loved one, friend, or acquaintance enters an eating disorder treatment center, they benefit from a connection to the outside world and a reminder that the people who love them are rooting for their recovery.

Why send a care package to someone in recovery for an eating disorder?

Eating disorder treatment facilities are a place where eating disorder recovery is facilitated in a managed care setting. This means that while facilities make an effort to make the living conditions home-like, the person who is in recovery is away from home, and likely missing many of the comforts of home.

A care package is a great way for family members, loved ones, and friends to connect with a person while they are recovering from an eating disorder. Care packages are a great way to remind someone that you are thinking about them, love them, and support their recovery.

Great care packages for recovery

Here is a list of items that people who have been in eating disorder recovery treatment have asked for as “care packages” from others:

Art/Craft Supplies

  • Sketchbook/Pads of art paper
  • Gel pens
  • Markers
  • Watercolors
  • Colored pencils
  • Coloring books
  • Macrame yarn/thread/string
  • Knitting/crochet/embroidery supplies

Boredom/Anxiety Management

  • Word searches/Crossword puzzles
  • Puzzles
  • Fidget spinners
  • Silly putty/slime/play dough
  • Stress ball
  • Slinky
  • Rubik cube

Comfort

Just like home

Writing

  • Journal
  • Gel pens
  • Stationery and stamps
  • Stickers

Personal

  • Letters, postcards, and cards
    • Avoid requests to “hurry home” or “get better soon” and instead focus on messages like “I’m proud of you,” “I’m rooting for you,” etc. Funny and corny are good choices, too!
    • Avoid images of food or bodies, which may be triggering.
  • Photos of loved ones, pets, and favorite places
    • Avoid images of the person in recovery, as they may be sensitive to their appearance.
  • Personalized pillow or blanket with a favorite pet’s face on it.
  • Paint/design a personalized inspirational message
  • A souvenir from a favorite place you have traveled together, like a miniature Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, snowglobe, etc.

Restricted Items

  • Food and drink items are typically restricted.
  • Each treatment center may have items that they do not allow residents to receive. It’s a good idea to check with the treatment center before sending a care package to ensure delivery.

BuddyBox

The BuddyBox, developed by the Blurt Foundation, is a care package designed to make the recipient feel good. The contents vare carefully selected to avoid psychological triggers. Blurt is an organization dedicated to helping people who have depression, but the BuddyBox is gender-neutral and applicable for many types of mental health conditions. BuddyBoxes are available as a monthly subscription or a single box.

Brave Box

A Brave Box is a gift specifically designed for people who have eating disorders. A portion of all proceeds go to the Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA). The boxes include putty, self-love cards, a plant, an engraved fork, and a story of hope.

Wrapping and delivery

One of the best parts of getting a package in the mail is the opportunity to feel delighted by the wrapping and delivery. Here are some ideas for getting creative:

  • Wrap the gift in gift wrap with a bow
  • Add confetti or glitter to an envelope
  • Add stickers on the outside of the envelope or package
  • Find a pop-up card, card with googly-eyes, or a singing card
  • Use a map of a favorite place, like Disneyland, London, or your home neighborhood, as wrapping paper
  • Use sheet music of a favorite song as wrapping paper
  • Enclose a personal voice recording or recording of a favorite song
  • Have a cousin, niece or nephew draw a picture on the wrapping paper

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