Well, here we are. November 2. We’ve officially entered…the Holiday Season.
I swear, the Trick or Treaters hadn’t even left the driveway before the first Christmas commercial came on TV.
What’s the heck?! Eager much??
But anyways. If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that for someone in EDrecovery, navigating Thanksgiving and Christmas, and all the festivities and parties that go with it, can be daunting. Staying strong in your eating disorder recovery can be a real test of strength.
I have such vivid memories of the anxiety I felt, heading into a season where everything was about food, and sharing meals and holiday parties.
Back when I was battling anorexia, I used to dread this time of year.
If one more person offers me a friggin Christmas cookie or candy cane, I’m going to bust a cap!!
But now, being in my tenth year of recovery, I have come to embrace this season. And it truly is my favorite time of year, again.
So here are some tips for those navigating recovery, and also for loved ones, to get a glimpse into what your dear one is going through.
1) Realize that people are going to say dumb things.
Here’s the thing: an eating disorder is difficult to navigate to all parties involved. And the fact is, sometimes, well meaning relatives or adults can say some pretty stupid things. And the thing about recovery from anorexia is that, yes – your body changes. Your progress is visible to people. And that’s a good thing! But not everyone knows how to react…tactfully. I remember going to a doctor’s appointment right after I got home from inpatient, and my male GI doc goes, “Wow, looks like you found McDonald’s!”
2) Give yourself permission to take a breather.
There can be a lot of stress and togetherness during the holidays. And sometimes, you just need to take a minute to yourself. And that’s okay. Know your limits. If you feel like, “I can’t take another minute of Aunt Ruth talking about how relieved she is that I’m doing better” just politely excuse yourself, find a quiet corner of the house, or step outside, and take a little break. Deep breath. I am loved. I am worthy. Jesus, be with me right now.
3) It’s just a cookie.
Thanksgiving and Christmas time are full of delicious goodies. That’s the long and short of it. Pumpkin spice lattes, Christmas cookies, eggnog, hot chocolate. For someone in recovery from an eating disorder, thinking about consuming those things makes them go into a cold sweat. But you know what? They’re delicious. And they’re not going to hurt you. Having a cookie or a treat in moderation is part of a healthy diet. Enjoy it! Partake in the festivities! You’re worth it.
4) The Power of Positive Thinking.
Sometimes, thinking about going to a party can bring on the anxiety. Before hand, close your eyes and envision yourself having a blast. You’re talking, dancing, wearing something that makes you feel confident, and truly enjoying yourself. Embody that girl of your dreams! Channel her spirit!
5) Have a support person.
Sometimes it can help to have a confidant at the party, with whom you can share your trepidations. Just give them a heads up that you could need a little extra support at the outing. Knowing that someone is on the same page and knows what you’re going through goes a long way.
6) Remember the reason for the season.
Focus on the people you love. The less you’re thinking about yourself, the more you will enjoy the best season of the year. Honestly, at the end of the day, people love you for who you are. Not what you look like. Not what you’re wearing. Not how you perceive your body to be. People love you for you. Love them back.
7) Pray your way through it.
Finally, there really is power in prayer. Sharing with Jesus your fears and anxieties and allowing Him to love you is the best thing you can do to navigate a difficult situation. Accept His peace. And remember that your worth comes from Him.
This is the best season of the year, and remember that you’re alive to enjoy it. Keep that in perspective. You’ve chosen life. You’ve reclaimed your health. You’ve won the battle, and sadly, not everyone does. Remember how blessed you are.
You survived. Celebrate that.
For more recovery advice, and a guided recovery companion journal, you can order my book, Bloom: A Journal by BeautyBeyondBones by clicking on the link below.
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