Now that the holidays are here, I can breathe a little easier. I’m lucky that my job is at a university, which happens to shut down for almost two whole weeks over the holidays! Which means it’s time to get around to updating this page!
Holidays used to be a big challenge for me. Being around family, having food prepared for you or going out to restaurants you aren’t used to, your whole schedule thrown off… sometimes that chance to relax is actually more stressful than your day-to-day. Over the years I learned that it’s the times when you’re challenged that it’s most important to stick to what works for you and put recovery first.
Maybe you want to get out of going to that restaurant, or just make excuses to avoid meals with other people all together. But I think the best gift you can give to yourself is to do things for you and not whatever negative voice in your head might tell you otherwise. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but recovery is something you do, meal by meal, day by day.
If you’re working, in school, or both, the holidays (basically all of November and December, if you’re anything like the average American!) can just add stress and make it harder to focus on taking care of yourself. But those are the times when it’s the absolute most important to maintain healthy choices and self-care. When you find yourself overwhelmed, where you do go for a breath of fresh air?
If you’ve struggled with an ED in the past, odds are that one of the reflexive reactions is to slip back into those kinds of patterns. That’s why it’s really important to have a plan for taking good care of yourself. Having a few friends who understand where you’re coming from that you know you can call in the moment when you’re struggling can go a long way. Why not go for a walk, a drive, a bike ride? Call a friend?
We all need a breath of fresh air sometimes. The question is, where do you go to get it? Do you turn back to old habits, or do you seek out new ways of dealing?
When you’re in the moment and all that anxiety about food feels so overpowering, it’s easy to feel as though there’s no other option but to engage in disordered eating behavior. But the best gift you can give to yourself, no matter what holiday you may or may not celebrate, is the gift of self-nurturance and self-care.
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