The holiday season is supposed to be a time of celebration. Yet for those of us with eating disorders it can be a scary time of year. You might experience feelings of anxiousness and fear of falling back into your old habits and patterns. There can be memories of past holiday seasons and how certain things triggered your eating disorder behaviours.
However, shutting yourself away to avoid the holidays is not a healthy response. Cutting yourself off from family and friends could create feelings of guilt and result in triggering a negative response. Part of overcoming an eating disorder is having a healthy support system in place through your counsellor and close friends and family members.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to be realistic about your expectations and where you are in overcoming your eating disorder. If you just started counselling, you may find attending every holiday party simply too much this year.
It is perfectly acceptable to decline invitations to holiday social events. Rather focus on those events you know you can manage and get through with the least temptations and triggers. It is also benefit to have a support system in place.
If you start to feel overwhelmed or struggling, having the support you need can be a great help. Talk to your counsellor ahead of time about different support options that are available over the holidays. You can also turn to a close friend or family member who is aware of your eating disorder and supports your recovery.
For larger family gatherings and holiday parties, make sure to have an exit strategy in place if things simply become too much. Certain relatives, friends, and co-workers could be potential triggers. Yet avoiding them during holiday events can be challenging.
If you are worried about running into certain relatives, friends or co-workers and simply want to avoid the stresses of dealing with them, remember it is okay to not attend at all. You have every right to put your current needs ahead of holiday events to ensure your recovery is not put at risk.
You might even want to consider exploring new holiday traditions or other events where you will feel more comfortable. For instance, having a small holiday gathering with your closest friends and relatives rather than a huge event with hundreds of people can be less stressful.
Lastly, do your very best to stick to your normal eating habits. Even though everyone else will be over indulging, following the eating plan you created with your counsellor will help you get through all those holiday parties, events, and meals.
To learn more about eating disorders or for help in managing your eating disorder, please feel free to contact Bayridge Counselling Centres at 905-319-1488 today!
PLEASE NOTE: Bayridge Counselling Centres are not an inpatient medical clinic for severe eating disorder cases that require 24/7 medical care. Rather, we provide ongoing outpatient treatment to help you stay focused on your recovery.