Tips For Enjoying Get-Togethers Over The Holidays With An Eating Disorder

Most people find holidays stressful, but the thought of facing holidays can be overwhelming for a person with an eating disorder. If a special day, or the dread holiday season, is quickly speeding toward you, take a deep breath. You can get through this.

Make a Plan

It's always good to go into an anxiety-inducing situation with a plan. We can't always avoid the things that stress us out, but we can be prepared to deal with them.

If you are working with a health-care professional, talk about your concerns, and come up with a plan together. You may also speak to your host or family members in advance to voice your concerns and ask for their support.

If you're still struggling with your eating disorder, think about the things that worry you most and then address each one of those issues. For example, you may be concerned about people pressuring you to eat; give yourself permission to say "no." If you're worried about foods triggering a binge, find a place to plant yourself away from the buffet table.

Pamper Yourself

Try to keep yourself as relaxed as possible as holidays approach with a little self-love. Take a bubble bath, treat yourself to a movie, or get a new haircut. Spend some time doing things that you enjoy and that give you good feelings, like listening to music or indulging in a hobby. Take some time to meditate or get a pedicure if you think it will help. Remind yourself that you're worth it.

Focus on Other Things

So many people focus on food on holidays that it's easy to forget you can focus on other things. If Thanksgiving is coming, get involved in watching a football game or playing a board game with family members. If it's Christmas, focus on television specials, singing carols, shopping, and wrapping gifts. If you're expected to spend the day at the 4th of July picnic, light some fireworks, enjoy the music or cool off by lounging in a pool.

Duck Out if Things Get Too Stressful

If you find you're having a hard time at a holiday gathering, take a breather. Step outside for a breath of fresh air. Go into an empty room where you can have a moment of peace and quiet.

If things start to make you feel really overwhelmed, permit yourself to bail. Make your apologies, and save yourself. If you have a support system in place, use it—call an understanding friend, get in touch with a help line or call your therapist.

Sources: Eating Disorder Hope, Walden Eating Disorders, Loma Linda University Health, Recovery Warriors
Photo: Pexels

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