Today, we are right in the middle of Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which runs from February 24 to March 1, 2020. This year’s theme is “Come As You Are: Hindsight is 20/20.” According to the organizers at National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the theme centers around reflecting on the positive steps you’ve taken toward accepting yourself and others. As excited as I am about this year’s theme, I’d challenge all of us to take it one step further. How do we move from positive reflection into positive action? How can we as a eating disorder recovery community make an impact on the world around us? Today, I wanted to offer you three ways you can make a difference – right now:
Are you curious about activism and advocacy, but not sure where to start? Organizations like the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) make it easy. Visit the EDC website, where you can sign up for action alerts, and regular information on how to get involved at the local and federal level. You can also reach out to your representatives in congress in support of the Eating Disorder Prevention in Schools Act. Not sure what to write? NEDA’s got you covered. Their template letter offers a great place to start with a message to your representatives.
Your financial contributions can also help spread the message of eating disorder awareness and prevention. An amazing variety and breadth of non-profits dedicate their missions to amplifying our voices and advocating for change. Along with NEDA and the EDC, The Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness (AEDA), Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA), and Eating Disorders Information Network (EDIN) provide clinical support services, consultation, and education all over the country. Many regional non-profits also focus their efforts toward eating disorders awareness, prevention and recovery. You can donate directly, or even designate a percentage of all your Amazon purchases to go to the non-profit of your choice through Amazon Smile. Every dollar counts, so don’t hesitate to contribute.
At Reasons, we’ve been talking a lot about the power of sharing your story. During NEDA Week, we’ve had the honor of highlighting amazing alumni who volunteered their voices, their encouragement and the wisdom born of their hindsight. Sharing your story is certainly a vulnerable act, but it is also a powerful change agent. For many of us, sharing our stories can spark a new or renewed sense of healing or peace in recovery. Perhaps just as importantly, if not more, sharing our stories can spark change for others. When we have the courage to share our experience, we help others realize that they are not alone. Sometimes, that realization is the encouragement another person needs to take action and make a step towards recovery.
That said, you don’t have to share your personal story to share your voice and make an impact. Sharing the stories of others is also a great way to raise awareness, especially when celebrities like Taylor Swift speak up about their experiences with disordered eating. You can also share statistics, motivational quotes, and resources via social media. Keep an eye out on the Reasons Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels for articles, images, facts and more. We live in an age of unparalleled connectedness online. Let’s use that to our advantage.
There are countless ways to promote awareness about eating disorders. We’d love to hear your suggestions for getting involved, so drop a note in the comments!