Eating Disorders and the Holiday Season
With the holidays swiftly approaching, the anticipation of large feasts and festive desserts is rising. While copious consumption of food may spark delight in most, those suffering with an eating disorder can become stressed by this seasonal fixation on food.
These quick tips can help you make peace with your eating disorder this holiday season.
Plan Ahead. If you know that you have an upcoming dinner party, prepare yourself ahead of time. Determine what you are and are not comfortable eating, and if possible, find out what is being served before you go to make sure that you have options. Don’t feel pressured to eat more just because it’s a special occasion, but at the same time, allow yourself some flexibility.
Bring Support. Before you attend a dinner, identify an individual who will be able to support you. Have an open conversation with them about how you feel and things that may cause you stress at this event. This person should be able to calm you down if you experience any difficulty, and should also be able to defend you in situations where others may probe you about your eating habits.
Remember what’s important. The holiday season is all about spending quality time with loved ones and creating positive memories. Make a list of the things that you want to focus on, and try to stay on track. When you feel yourself drifting from these things, come back to your list, and position your mind to these goals.
Make time for you. With the joy of the holidays can come a significant amount of stress to get things done. Rushing from place to place and store to store can cause us to neglect our mental and physical health. Make sure that you give yourself time to relax.
Continue/begin treatment. If you are actively attending treatment, do your best to continue throughout the holiday season. Before the holidays, express your anxieties with your therapist, and go over ways to cope should you experience stress. Communicate regularly with your therapist and those in your support group should you ever need additional guidance. If you aren’t currently attending therapy, use the holidays and new year as an opportunity to set goals and begin your recovery process.
GenPsych’s team of therapists, dietitians, doctors, and nurses are here to help you or your loved one suffering from an eating disorder. For more information on eating disorder treatment options, visit our Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) program page here.