This post was not planned, but after some thought for my dear friends in the situation I am about to describe, I realize how necessary it is to raise awareness for these issues especially during this season. If you have followed my content for a while you would know that I struggled with and recovered from an eating disorder at a very young age. As an advocate for mental health and eating disorders now, I find this message to be incredibly important.
For most people, traveling home for the holidays is the ultimate break from life and school, with visits from old friends, late nights watching Netflix, and endless homemade food. For the few who may be struggling with an eating disorder or going through eating recovery, however, the part about food may seem scary. Going home can be uncomfortable, different from normal life (at school or wherever) with different people, different settings, and different meals. Fortunately, here are some helpful ways to get past these fears and enjoy the time off with family.
You likely just had a busy work week or school week with all sorts of extra assignments in preparation for the time off, and now is the time to actually use that time off! The break is a great way to make time for yourself and focus on self care. Try making a bubble bath or catch up on your favorite drama series!
Reconnect With Old Friends
It has probably been a hot minute since you last saw your family and friends from home. Take time to enjoy their company, and avoid isolation from events as this can lead to old behaviors.
Make A Plan
For someone who has a difficult relationship with food, planning ahead can help add some structure and familiarity to a meal. If you do not plan on hosting this holiday but you want to know what is on the menu, it is ok to just ask! If you need more balance, offer to bring a dish!
Use Your Person
Everyone needs a support system every now and then. If the holiday gets a little too stressful, find someone you trust who can be there to help in case things get difficult.
Avoid Any Triggers
Everyone in this situation has triggers. Whether your triggers are food or people, just avoid them. If you have certain trigger foods, let someone know so they can help you. As for triggering people, if they are toxic to your well-being you should not have to spend your holiday with them. You are in control, and if someone is in the way of your recovery, tell them to stop or remove yourself from the situation.
ENJOY The Holiday
It can be hard to push through your struggles during a holiday that is centered around food. But is is important to remember why you are there and enjoy the loved ones around you! This is the time to connect with people and celebrate recovery!
You can do it.