care package ideas for eating disorder recovery

Best care package ideas for a person who has an eating disorder

Do you know someone who is being treated for an eating disorder? Do you want to show them that you care? A care package is a great way to connect with someone who has an eating disorder. It’s a wonderful reminder that people who love them are rooting for their recovery.

Why send a care package to someone who has an eating disorder?

An eating disorder is a lonely, isolated illness. As a result, few people understand eating disorders. Most people are very uncomfortable with eating disorders. Few of us know what to do. Sending a care package to someone who is being treated for an eating disorder is a great way to help.

Eating disorder treatment facilities are a place where eating disorder recovery is facilitated in a managed care setting. Although facilities make an effort to make the living conditions home-like. But people in recovery are away from home, and miss the comforts of home. For example, they may miss their pets, their bedroom, or fun things to do.

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 package ideas for eating disorder recovery

We asked people who have been in eating disorder treatment what they want. Here’s what they said:

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.” 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. For example, 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 are 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 items like 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 unwrapping it! It’s so exciting to get a gift! Therefore, 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

Understanding eating disorders

In conclusion, the greatest gift you can give a person in recovery is your understanding and acceptance. Our society is very uncomfortable with eating disorders. It can feel very lonely to have an eating disorder even though they are fairly common.

Disordered eating is common

Recent estimates say eating disorders impact about 10% of the population. But disordered eating, which is a milder but still serious form, is very common. Estimates put it at up to 80% of the population. Above all, knowing that disordered eating is common can help you be more understanding of your loved one.

Disordered eating is societally-driven

There are many factors that contribute to an eating disorder. But we cannot ignore the fact that our diet culture drives many of the behaviors and drivers of eating disorders. Therefore, understanding the societal drivers of eating disorders can help you be more compassionate towards your loved one.

Eating disorders heal in the community

While eating disorders are often treated privately and in treatment centers, the healing takes place in the community. Every person needs to eat, and eating is a part of our social fabric. When neighbors, friends, and loved ones understand eating disorders, they are less likely to make unintentionally hurtful comments. In other words, when communities commit to understanding eating disorders, they are healthier for everyone.


Ginny Jones is the editor of More-Love.org. She writes about parenting, body image, disordered eating, and eating disorders.

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