Surviving the Holidays with an Eating Disorder

December 22, 2019

I’m sure we’ve all heard the song, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. No matter what holiday(s) you celebrate in the coming weeks, the holiday season isn’t always as wonderful as all the songs and Hallmark movies make it out to be.  Living with an eating disorder is hard.  Navigating the holidays with an eating disorder.  Even harder.

So, here are some tips that help me through the holiday season:

  1. Schedule some time for self-care.
    It can be hard to find time for yourself in between all the hustle and bustle, but that’s what makes scheduling time for taking care of yourself so important.  Remember, practicing self-care and self-compassion is not selfish.
  2. Practice setting boundaries.
    Setting boundaries is a great way to practice self-care.  Whether you are in a situation, a conversation, or with people that make you uncomfortable, you have every right to walk away. You are your number one priority.
    P.S. If you have a hard time setting boundaries, it may be helpful to do some role-playing with your therapist to practice.
  3. Focus on staying present.
    The holidays can be overwhelming, making it difficult to stay present and grounded.  Some of my favorite grounding techniques in my toolbox are holding something hot or cold, putting both of my feet on the ground, or listening to music.  These are all things I can do no matter where I am, making them perfect techniques for being on-the-go.
  4. Plan ahead.
    I always found it difficult to follow my meal plan with all the parties and holiday gatherings.  Something that helped was planning ahead with my dietitian.  We would talk through appropriate portions and being flexible with meal/snack times and food choices.
  5. Reach out!You are not alone.  Even people without eating disorders have a hard time during the holidays.  Identify your support people and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to reach out when you need it.

And, finally, remember despite the stress of this season, you will make it through!

Laurie Yurchuck is the findEDhelp project coordinator for The Alliance. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree, majoring in psychology. When she’s not working, you can probably find her playing with Annabelle (Johanna’s adorable little daughter).