Holidays are a time to cherish family, friends, and all the wonderful gifts we’ve been given in this life. It is a time to focus on the positive and to express generosity to our loved ones and those less fortunate. However, holidays can also be a source of anxiety and become overwhelming for those struggling with an eating disorder. The key to a happy healthy holiday is planning, preparing, and staying mindful. Focus on positive details that will minimize stress, anxiety, and fear associated with parties, meals and gatherings. Here are some quick tips to make the most of a wonderful time of year.
- Allow yourself to focus on celebrating and spending time with family instead of counting calories and excessive thoughts of food
- Keep a journal, before going to a party write down why you are going what you will focus on at the party and reflect on your entry after the party.
- Avoid good food bad food talk
- Be aware of your stress level and do not overbook your schedule. Choose the events that mean the most to you and allow time for yourself to relax.
- Stay connected with your treatment professionals; work with them to carefully balance meals in advance. If you regularly attend supports groups keep going and seek strategies for the holiday season.
- Before a holiday event consider calling and asking the host what foods will be served and if it is necessary bring along safe foods.
- If you’re feeling up to the challenge let holiday events be an opportunity for progress. Practice a three-meal-a-day schedule. Do not go to a holiday meal hungry with the plans to skip meals in preparation for a larger one.
- Surround yourself with people who have healthy relationship with their food, their body, and their weight. Try and bring a trusted friend to holiday events if you can.
- Keep lines of communication open and involve your family and friends in your challenges, victories, and goals.