Navigating the Thanksgiving Holiday

By: Laurie Yurchuck
Project Coordinator, The Alliance
November 24, 2020
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Navigating the Thanksgiving Holiday

Apparently it’s November (Mentally: Still in March), and we are approaching another holiday season. The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. Add in recovering from an eating disorder and living through a pandemic, and well… I’ll be under my weighted blanket if anyone needs me.

This year has not been an easy one and it’s okay if you are having a hard time. It’s even more important for us to give ourselves grace right now. If this year has taught me anything, it’s just how resilient I am, and I know that you are too.

So, whether you are having a Zoom Thanksgiving or dinner with your pod, let’s talk about some ways we can cope through this unprecedented holiday season.

1. Fill up your cup.

We cannot pour from an empty cup. 2020 has been emptying my cup faster than I can fill it back up. If you’re anything like me, taking care of yourself is not always easy. I find that scheduling in time to practice self care makes me more likely to actually do it.

P.S. Self care doesn’t have to be some extravagant event! I personally like to lay in bed and watch Schitt’s Creek.

2. Make a plan.

I thrive on structure and schedules, and the holidays tend throw a wrench in my routine. It may be helpful to make a plan beforehand (either with your therapist, dietitian, or other supports) on how to be flexible while still taking care of yourself. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect!

3. Don’t buy into the diet talk.

It wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving without someone bringing up their new diet. No, I do not want to hear about your Keto diet or juice cleanse #SorryNotSorry.

Even if you aren’t seeing your family in-person this year, you can still set boundaries around the diet talk. Whether that involves asking your loved ones to change the subject, removing yourself from the conversation, or muting them on social media, you deserve to put you and your recovery first.

4. Reach out for support.

The holidays may be really different this year and that can bring up all sorts of emotions. Whenever you need to vent, need some accountability, distraction, or funny memes, identify who your supports are and actually utilize them!

5. Remind yourself what the holidays are really about.

Just as my eating disorder was never all about the food, neither are the holidays. I find it helpful to ground myself in gratitude and recognize the deeper meaning of the day. When you wake up in the morning, try to write down 5 things you are thankful for.

If all else fails, remember it’s just another day.


Laurie Yurchuck is a project coordinator at The Alliance. She began volunteering after attending support groups in high school. After volunteering for a while, she was offered an internship. She interned for about 3 years and now, getting ready to graduate from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University, has taken on the role of Project Coordinator. She helps manage, The Alliance’s interactive referral website, and social media. When she’s not working, you can probably find her playing with Annabelle (Johanna’s adorable little daughter).

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