This post was originally written several years ago, but it is worth repeating at the onset of each and every holiday season. Holidays can be stressful when you have an eating disorder. Here are 12 tips to help you through the day!
- Keep your expectations of yourself realistic. You have an illness that makes holidays challenging. Don’t beat yourself up for doing whatever is necessary to get through the day and remain in “recovery mode.”
- Don’t try to please everyone else at your own expense. You are the one who matters most.
- Do your best with the food. Remember, it’s only one meal in one day of the entire year.
- Try not to alter your entire day in anticipation of a difficult meal. Be as consistent as you can before, and after the festivities.
- Once the day is over, try not to let “thought hangovers” carry into the next day. Once the day is over, it’s over.
- Practice in advance answering any difficult questions that might come up, like:
- “What are you eating?”
- “You look good!”
- “You don’t look so good.”
- “Try this food.”
- Find a “safe” person who you can go to or sit with if you get anxious. Text or call people for additional emotional support.
- Change the subject away from yourself if someone starts up a conversation about your illness, or anything you are uncomfortable about. Divert the conversation toward a topic related to them. People love talking about themselves.
- Don’t internalize others’ words or opinions about you. Put up an imaginary shield to protect you from getting hurt.
- Go outside and take some deep breaths if you need to escape for a few minutes, or distract yourself by playing with children if they are present.
- Plan a good self-care activity after the day is over. Take a bath, curl up with a good book, do some online shopping, go to a movie with a friend.
- Remind yourself often throughout the day about what your strengths are, and the things you are grateful for.
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