The holiday season can be joyful, but there are many stressors and emotional triggers that can cause some struggle, particularly for those recovering from an eating disorder. The lead up to this season is a great time to take stock of your coping mechanisms and support plans.
Holidays are a wonderful time for connection, reflection, and a much needed “pause” from the day to day routine. Holidays can be a time for mixed emotions and for many individuals, whether or not they are struggling with an eating disorder, the holidays can bring up intense emotions and painful thoughts.
Those struggling with an eating disorder face further obstacles and challenges with festivities being based around food events.
The key to thriving through the holidays is all in the planning ahead.
Support People including Treatment Team
- Find allies you feel comfortable with
- Let a trusted person or people know how you’re feeling.
- Tell them ways they can support you leading up to an event, and on the day itself
Utilize your treatment team to create a holiday meal plan to help you navigate the holidays. Work on foods you would like to try, challenge foods if you feel ready, and more comfortable foods if you are feeling unsure about your ability to not engage in behaviors.
Having a plan to work from can help reduce anxiety about meals and gatherings. Before the holidays, set up a check-in session with your therapist or treatment team to be able to talk with a safe and objective person.
If you are out-of-town for the holidays you can set up a phone session as well. It is also imperative that you schedule a follow-up visit immediately after the holidays to be able to check-in as well.