For those who struggle with an eating disorder or body image concerns, the holidays can be one of the most challenging times of the year.
Whether it’s specific fears around food, navigating family and social situations, or body dissatisfaction, being proactive about your recovery during this season is essential.
Having a plan and skills in place for challenging situations can help you decrease your anxiety, increase your confidence, and even let yourself experience some joy during this time of year.
So, if you’re struggling with disordered eating or body image issues, this three-part series will provide tips and tricks to help you navigate the holidays successfully.
Tip #1: Choose Events That Are Aligned with Your Values
As we approach the holidays, there are no end to parties and gatherings that can lead to heightened anxiety.
It can be overwhelming for anyone to decide which events to attend and which invitations to decline, but this is especially difficult for those who struggle with perfectionistic or people-pleasing tendencies.
When it comes to your recovery, you have the right to be protective. This means choosing events aligned with your values and spending time with people who will support your recovery, not compromise it.
While this might mean occasionally letting someone down, remind yourself that everyone is in charge of their feelings. If someone feels disappointed by something you chose not to do, that doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it mean that you made the wrong choice.
Tip #2: Cope Ahead
If there’s an event that you feel you should attend but know it’s going to be difficult, take some time to cope ahead. This means creating a plan before, during, and after the event and identifying coping skills you can use when difficulties arise.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- How long do you plan to spend at the event?
- Can you have a support person with you?
- What potential stressors or triggers do you anticipate, and what skills can you use if they do?
- What is your plan for food? Have you talked to your dietitian about navigating holiday parties and your meal plan?
Remember that coping ahead is not the same as future tripping. Future tripping is when you think into the future and get caught up in the anxiety of what might happen. Coping ahead is strategically thinking about what could happen and identifying coping skills that you can put into place to help you manage anxiety and keep yourself safe.
If you’re looking for an experienced clinician to help support you in your recovery process, please reach out to our intake team at (720) 675-7123 and schedule your free consultation or fill out a contact form, and our admin team will be with you shortly.