- Mental Health
Getting Through The Holidays With An Eating Disorder
It's holiday season and most people who celebrate the annual festivities are getting into the holiday spirit which of course is fantastic! For many though, the holiday season isn’t the easy, joyous and exciting time that it should be which is why today I’d like to shed some light on some of the difficulties faced by those struggling with eating disorders and hopefully offer some helpful tips to make the days more enjoyable.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder then I hope this post can help you both through what may be a very difficult time.
*Disclaimer* Please note that I am not a mental health professional and any advice or tips I offer below are based on my own personal experiences. If you are at crisis point please seek the help of the services and stay safe.
Having an eating disorder is hard enough at the best of times when there are no large celebrations to be had, but when your family and friends are surrounding you whilst usually consuming generous amounts of food and drink, it can be very difficult to maintain your usual composure and it is very easy to feel isolated even in a room full of people you love so much which can lead you to become very distressed.
As someone who has first hand experience with eating disorders I know myself what you are going through right now but it’s very important to know you are not alone even though it may seem that way a lot of the time.
Tips And Coping Methods For Those Struggling With An ED:
- If you can, reach out to family or friends as they can be the greatest support network for your recovery and help you on the days you are struggling the most with your disorder.
- The biggest fear of reaching out is that you will be confronted with rejection, anger, disgust, confusion and humiliation but most people who have and do struggle with eating disorders find that opening up to loved ones relieves a huge weight from their shoulders and initiates the recovery process.
- Be aware that there will be times over the holidays that you will feel overwhelmed and out of control. When you do feel this way you will be mentally prepared for it and coping will be easier.
- Don’t avoid food, eating small amounts throughout the celebrations will suppress any urges to binge and reduce your cravings.
- Prior to the celebrations come up with an achievable eating plan, be fair to yourself by not putting huge amounts of pressure on yourself and if you meet or exceed your plans you can be proud of what you managed achieved.
- If you eat less than you planned don’t be down on yourself, you did your best and that’s all anyone can ever ask of you. There’s always next time and every day is a fresh start.
- If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed and stressed out then take a step back, remove yourself from the situation and calm down before returning.
- Keep your mind busy with conversation even if you aren’t taking part or with whats going on around the room. Keeping your sole focus off food makes the day more bearable and enjoyable.
- If you are feeling self conscious of people watching over you try to relax, for the most part they are probably more interested in the conversations.
- Focus on the positives of the day i.e. family coming together, New Year is coming and it’s a chance for a new start.
- You are more than your disorder. It affects you but it is not who you are as a person. You deserve to have a lovely time.
Tips For Family/Friends of Those Who Suffer From An Eating Disorder:
- If you think someone you care about may be struggling with an Eating Disorder, talk to them about it in a calm, non-accusing way because opening that connection may be exactly what they need from you. Remaining open minded when they do talk to you is important as it maintains a solid level of trust.
- Try not to pressure them into eating what may seem a normal amount for you as for them it could add more pressure for the day and set them up for failure.
- Try not to watch over them all day to see if they are eating when they are supposed to.
- Offer them the ability to talk to you when you can see they are becoming overwhelmed.
- Help them to focus on the positives of the day.
- Keep them busy with positive things like conversation, family games etc. It’s very easy for them to feel isolated and left out even if you feel they are as welcome as anyone else to join.
- Help them to set an achievable eating plan.
- Offering lots of finger food and snacks can help them to graze over a long period of time at their own pace.
- Don’t become frustrated with your loved one, they don’t want this eating disorder and they also don’t want to disappoint you.
- Enjoy your time together, having a good time alleviates a lot of the stress you will both be under.
It's so important to talk about your eating disorder instead of battling it alone, there are people who want to help and people who can help you get through this. Though this coming season may be tough, you can get through it and you can enjoy it.
As always feel free to leave your own thoughts, experiences, tips and advice in the comments section below as it may really help someone who is struggling.
(For Sufferers of ED's) Do You Find These Tips Helpful?
(For Family/Friends of those who suffer from ED's) Do You Find These Tips Helpful?
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