As Eating Disorder Dietitians, we know that the holiday season can be challenging for those amid recovery. Not only can it be a time for heightened stress and anxiety, but there can also be an increase in diet talk and pressure from diet culture with the New Year around the corner.
These things can certainly make things more challenging, but with a bit of preparation and support from your treatment team, it doesn't have to derail your recovery.
Here are just a few helpful tips for navigating Eating Disorder Recovery During the Holidays:
It may be tempting to “save calories” for a big holiday meal, but you will want to stick to a reasonable eating pattern.
Don't Overbook Yourself
This may seem like a strange tip, but we know that fewer obligations and less stress can help decrease the need to go to unhelpful coping mechanisms. Be sure to leave time for relaxation, reflection, and practicing gratitude.
Stay Connected with Your Treatment Team
This isn’t the time to skip or reschedule sessions. Discussing your concerns and anticipating your challenges with members of your team will only help you prepare and get through them without self-destructive coping attempts.
Self-Compassion is key for recovery. By now, you probably already know that your critical eating disorder voice is unhelpful. Remind yourself that being in recovery is amazingly brave. Think of what you might say to a loved one- a family member, friend, or child if they were struggling. How would you encourage them? Turn those compassionate words towards yourself when you feel your critical voice is speaking loud.
Have a Support Buddy
Let them know ahead of time that you may be reaching out to them if you're struggling. Share some ideas of what you may need if you do.
Set Healthy Boundaries
As difficult as it may feel to set boundaries (especially with family around the Holidays), it may be necessary to protect your recovery. Choosing not to engage in diet talk, excusing yourself from conversations, or even functions early are examples of this. Talk with your treatment team if you would like more ideas.
Remember the Reason for the Season
As cliché as it sounds, finding time to reflect on what the holidays mean to you and practicing gratitude can help shift your focus and create more peace during this time. One idea is to journal 3-5 things you are grateful to start your day. It can be as simple as bringing your attention and gratitude to your favorite warm holiday coffee or tea or when you receive a thoughtful gift from a loved one.
You deserve recovery and to enjoy the holiday season. If you’d like to learn more about Eating Disorder Treatment with the Branz Nutrition Team, contact us today.
As a reminder, the Branz Nutrition blog is nutritional information, not medical nutrition therapy or professional consultation. Branz Nutrition cannot provide medical nutrition therapy to individuals who are not our patients. If you have questions or concerns about your health, please schedule an appointment with our team.