7 Tips To Help You Have Healthy Holidays When You’re Coping With Eating Disorders
The holiday season is here! Well, almost. While there are many things to be cheerful about this holiday season, some things we can do without, right? Like, the annoying aunt who loves bringing up your diet and your eating habits on the dinner table. We can definitely do without her!
You can’t always run from these situations but you can learn to cope with such distressing situations as well as you can cope with eating disorders.
The holiday season can be particularly tough if you’re currently struggling with an eating disorder or if you’re on the road to recovery. Sadly, the holiday season means fun-filled and food-filled activities. And if you’re coping with an eating disorder, then such events can cause you extreme anxiety and stress.
Stress can be about the quantity or the type of foods, gaining weight, or worrying too much about how to handle the not-so-off-handed comments – we’re looking at you, annoying aunt!
Jokes aside, below I’ve listed 7 effective ways you can cope with eating disorders during the holidays. Don’t let your eating disorder ruin your holiday cheer this year!
Coping With Eating Disorders During The Holidays
The holiday season can bring a fear that there’s no escaping and this can make it difficult not to revert to your old and disordered eating habits. Well, no need to continue with your anxiety and stress.
Holidays might be packed with parties and dinners but you can control your anxiety about your eating disorders with these steps.
1. Pre-Plan Your Meals
During the holidays, it’s important to create a plan to avoid relapse. You need to understand that your eating disorder doesn’t care if it’s the holidays. You can prepare a plan beforehand with the help of your dietician or nutritionist. Talking to your therapist can also help you come up with other healthy coping skills.
If you haven’t already reached out to a mental health professional, do it now! Don’t wait till the last moment. Prepare your plan now. You can come up with a plan on what foods you should avoid, what foods are good for you, etc. Holidays can be challenging but with professional help, they can be manageable.
2. Ask Help From Your Support System
This is another eating disorder coping skill that I would like to emphasize. You have a plan ready, great! But what about your support system. You need to have a plan to deal with your emotions as well. This can be helped by asking for help from your support system.
You can ask them to support you and help you stick to your plan as decided. Your support system can also help you plan some self-care activities.
3. Communicate Your Boundaries
You’ve already set boundaries but are they followed and respected? Setting boundaries isn’t the goal, it is communicating those boundaries. You need to make sure your boundaries are heard to avoid any potentially triggering event.
For example, you can let your family and friends know that you would not like to talk about anything diet-related or weight-related around you. You can also try to set a time when you can leave before it becomes too distressing for you. Remember, you can say “no”.
4. Focus On The Celebrations
Another coping mechanism for eating disorders, especially during the holidays is to focus on the meaning behind the celebration instead of what will happen. When planning your holidays and the activities you’d like to do, instead of focusing on the meals and the many dinners, focus on what activities make you feel safe and happy.
This could include anything; you can plan some fun offline games, (Monopoly or Pictionary could work *wink*), you can also watch some holiday movies, go light-watching, or go caroling!
5. Practice Self-Compassion
Don’t lose sight that you’re dealing with a tough situation and just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’ve lost. Be proud of yourself and try not to lose yourself in the downward and inevitable spiral of negative thinking.
Coping with eating disorders can be tough as any other disorder but you need to be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Be aware of your self-talk, avoid trying to be perfect, set realistic exp, and more importantly, forgive yourself if you somehow mess up.
6. Avoid Unhealthy Distractions
Yes, I know how tempting it is to drink and forget about your worries, only for a little while. But remember that unhealthy distractions such as drinking alcohol are only temporary and can harm you and your health. Such substances can worsen your symptoms of anxiety.
If you like enjoying holiday drinks, you can try making or drinking a mocktail. There are so many amazing recipes you can try – sans alcohol.
7. Most Importantly, Love Yourself!
To keep yourself on the road to recovery or keep your focus away from your eating disorder, you need to practice self-care and self-love. Celebrate your accomplishments! Do things you like doing, things that help you de-stress.
You can try:
- Cuddling with your pets
- Be thankful
- Listening to your favorite music
- Solving a puzzle
- Taking a warm bubble bath
The holiday season doesn’t have to be tough and stressful. With a little pre-planning and support from your support system, you can guarantee a safe and healthy recovery. Remember to be gentle and compassionate towards yourself while you are navigating your way through an emotionally challenging time.
If you’re looking for eating disorder treatment, you can connect with professional therapists and counselors from BetterHelp by clicking the link below.
If you need immediate assistance, you can contact the National Eating Disorder helpline (NEDA) at (800) 931-2237 or SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357. You can also reach out to your nearest helpline or emergency number.
Take one day at a time and remember there is help available. You can connect with us if you need additional support by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media.
You’re not alone. We can get through this together.
Happy Holidays! Take Care!