Whether you’re currently living with an eating disorder or on the path to recovery, the holidays are challenging. This time of year offers many opportunities to break bread and toast with friends and family. The season creates additional stress thanks to the end-of-year flurry of shopping, wrapping presents, finalizing school or work projects, and the ever-present push to be merry. Here’s a guide to getting through this time of year without setbacks.
A Guide to Help You Through the Holiday Season
Instead of dwelling on the food you’ll face and the pressure to eat, make a list of other activities the season allows you to enjoy. From going caroling to watching Christmas movies to playing in the snow, there’s plenty of fun to be had where the focus isn’t what’s on your plate.
You might find it helpful to write down a list of what you plan to do each day. Prioritize healthy activities geared towards your recovery, like your morning meditation and mindfulness ritual. Organizing your time also prevents you from overbooking yourself, which will cause stress that may trigger your eating disorder. Continue to practice other techniques you’ve found useful, such as deep breathing. Be kind to yourself. When negative thoughts come, don’t beat yourself up about them – acknowledge their existence and move on.
Trust Your Support System
Make sure you have people to talk to about your eating disorder when the holiday season rolls around. If you have friends and family you trust, share your worries with them. Have a designated friend check in with you when you’re facing potentially difficult meals or anxious moments.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing with your immediate circle, consider local support groups so you don’t have to face the season alone. Many of these are anonymous, ensuring that your privacy will be protected. Words of support and encouragement, especially from others who empathize with your situation, are helpful. They’ll remind you to practice strategies that have worked for you in the past, and may even suggest new ones.
If you need additional support recovering from your eating disorder this holiday season, turn to Mental Health Association Of Rochester/Monroe County, NY. Rooted in a firm belief in the power of peer support in combating mental health issues, they’ll connect you to groups that will help you. This nonprofit organization has been aiding the community for over 85 years. Learn more about their services, including an anonymous eating disorder support group, via their website. You can reach them directly at (585) 325-3145.