As Christmas is fast approaching and we recognise that the festive period can be a difficult time of the year for suffers of eating disorders, we have compiled a list of out top ten tips to help you to have a calm Christmas.
- Food is often the centre of conversation and celebrations over the Christmas period. Remember that talking about food is normal and any comments made are not necessarily being aimed at you.
- Try to find a balance with your daily routine and what is expected of you at Christmas. If you usually meditate in the morning before breakfast then do so, if you usually go for a walk in the afternoon then make sure you do so. If you try to change your whole routine, as well as your eating patterns in one go, you could start feel overwhelmed and anxious.
- Remember to stay mindful. This will help you to stay grounded and will help you connect with your body so you know what you are feeling and what your body needs.
- Adapt your meal plan to incorporate festive foods rather than just your usual foods. In order to help with this, try to find out what will be cooked and when. Talk it over with your therapist or nutritionist and ask for their advice. The more you plan in advance, the less stressed you will feel on the day.
- Consider staying off social media or limiting your time for the duration. It can appear that everyone but you are having the ‘perfect’ Christmas, when the reality is that this is possibly not the case
- Take one day at a time. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to plan the perfect festive season. Yes, it is good to get some sates in the diary with friends and family but this can become overwhelming. Take one day at a time to work on your own goals. You could even break the day down into morning, afternoon and evening and decide what you would like to achieve in each section of the day.
- Don’t forget to journal. The act of writing your thoughts down during or at the end of the day can give a sense of release as well as slowing down the process of your thinking. This may help you to cope with your feelings and anxieties over the festive period.
- Try to resist restricting in order to compensate for other choices. For example: missing meals to enjoy chocolate or alcohol, or restricting breakfast because you know lunch will be a bigger meal than usual. You need the nourishment of your meals to keep your blood sugars balanced and to give you energy. Choosing to restrict means that you are more likely to binge.
- Try to plan how you might respond if someone comments on your food plan or eating habits. Try to think of a response that doesn’t sound defensive but that you feel safe saying. Something like “In order for me to feel less stressed at the moment, it is important for me to be able to manage things at my own pace.
- Enjoy yourself! Christmas is a time for celebrations and for being surrounded by those who love and care for you. It is important to try and remember that you are surrounded by people for that very reason and your eating disorder does not have to be the sole focus of your day. Making a gratitude list can help you to focus on something positive when surrounded by challenging triggers.
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