Food Makes the Festive Season Hell. How Will I Cope?
There’s no point in denying what a difficult time Christmas can be for someone with a diagnosed eating disorder.
Heck, it’s already tough enough for those of us who do have a good relationship with food.
So, how are you going to navigate your way through the season and keep your mental health on an even keel?
Here’s some suggestions to aid you in achieving a happy yuletide.
1. Be honest.
This tip applies throughout the season, and centres on the importance of being authentic with those who you love, and who love you. Your eating disorder will want you ‘all to itself’ in lonely isolation. Closing down conversations with friends and family means another win to the eating disorder. Instead, talk to those who care for you. Explain what you’re fearful of, what might help, and how you’d like your Christmas to look if it were ‘free’ of the eating disorder’s influence.
2. Allow some meal planning.
If you know you’re due to have a festive meal with friends at a restaurant, there’s no harm in finding out in advance where that will be, and taking a look at the menu. No, you don’t want to become obsessive, but it can help ease the social anxiety on the day if you know you’ve already got a good sense of what the place serves and the dish you might like.
If it’s the family Christmas Day meal which troubles you, chat in advance to the host. Discuss elements of the menu. Ask if you can assist with any preparation.
Often being involved and contributing can really ease the way you feel about the ‘occasion’.
3. Discover ‘distraction’.
No, we don’t want you ‘running away from’ your eating disorder thoughts and feelings, but particularly with something like a Christmas Dinner, it can be really useful to have discussed or considered things which may play a part in the day’s proceedings and avoid you ‘wallowing’ in thoughts after eating.
Days of this nature are perfect for a short chilly walk with family, or for playing a silly board game or getting involved in cringe-worthy Christmas karaoke.
4. Be prepared to not be ok.
Naturally, we want you to be enjoying every moment of your Christmas and unaffected by your eating disorder on the day in question, but let’s be realistic and know that it may not go to plan. Allow yourself to feel your emotions, and always have on hand someone you can call, visit or video-chat with, if you need any kind of support. The worst thing you can do is retreat into isolation, so stay kind and accountable to yourself.
If we can help you over the season, do please drop us an email.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dec 2019