By Alex Raymond, RD, LD.
Aah, the holidays are right around the corner……
Even though Christmas stuff has been out in the stores since August. Sure, the holidays can be a joyful time for many of us. I personally remember loving the holidays growing up. I got to travel to my grandparents’, hang out by fire, eat some cookies, and most importantly, I didn’t have to go to school. Nowadays, the holidays are a bit different… I wind up traveling to see my mom or dad who live out west. My apartment sadly doesn’t have a fireplace, but I’ll snuggle under a blanket. And, I still eat cookies…
As wonderful as the holidays can be, they can also be extremely stressful.
When healing from an eating disorder, being around food, maybe moving less, hanging out with family, can all be triggers to increased ED thoughts about food and body. With many of my clients, we spend time discussing these triggers and possible healthy coping tools. That’s why I created this holiday guide. I wanted to give my clients space to brainstorm ideas about the holidays (struggles, excitements, plans, worries…etc) and different coping tools to use. You can refer back to this guide throughout the holidays when you feel you need a reminder of what to do. I’d encourage you to add to it and to use with various members of your treatment team.
Click here to Download the Guide to ED Recovery During Holidays Worksheet
I also wanted to use this blog to talk about some coping skills to use, especially on the big family gathering days:
1. Playing games.
I love games! Games are an easy thing to do either during a holiday dinner or after that are usually pretty innocent (unless your family is super competitive like mine) and can steer the conversation away from diet talk. Some games to consider buying.. Apples to Apples, a deck of cards (Go Fish anyone?), scattergories, What Do You Meme?, Uno. Hopefully playing some games will lead to laugher and fun!
We often forget about the power of gratitude. During the holiday season, and really anytime you’re feeling low, it may be useful to keep a running list of some things you may be thankful for.
3. Texting family and friends.
Do you have a family member or friend who acts as a strong support? Sometimes it can be really helpful to have someone at the table who understands what you’re going through and can roll their eyes if someone starts to diet talk or body bash. If there isn’t someone there in person, perhaps a friend could be on standby.
4. Taking breaks.
It can be difficult if there are lots of family members around the dinner table at holiday gatherings. Or overwhelming with the amount of people at a holiday party. It’s okay to take a break and head to the bathroom. Or step outside for a bit of fresh air. Or if the holiday event is in your home, can you head to your room for a bit and take some deep breaths?
If you want more information about resources for eating disorder recovery during the holidays or on stress management and self-care for the holiday season, please contact us to talk to one of our amazing dietitians. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to set up a phone call with a dietitian.