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Managing Christmas with an Eating Disorder

By Kiera Cv

People generally assume Christmas to be the “happiest time of the year”, but for those struggling with an eating disorder, it may be the worst. From chestnuts on the open fire, pigs in blankets, and your grandmas continuously serving you plates of food, it may never seem to end. Although it’s only 1 day out of 365, it could be the one that pushes you over the edge. I’m not here to tell you to “just breathe” or “look forward to tomorrow!” because I know it doesn’t work like that. Your eating disorder doesn’t go on a nice, tropical vacation for Christmas. So, from me to you, and with the aid of some trusted websites, here are the tried and true tips for surviving Christmas:

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s okay to take it slow, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay if you eat more or less than you originally anticipated. This is about you, and what is best and safest for you. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. 

Plan activities that you know you enjoy for the rest of the holiday season. Healthy distractions are always a good idea. Should it be taking an early morning, snowy walk, or wrapping presents for your family (which is a favorite, therapeutic pastime of mine), or sitting by the fire reading a good book. Anything to ease your mind, even just a little bit, of any anxieties you may have. 

Taking a nap. If the turkey sleepiness kicks in and you feel overwhelmed, take a nap! Sleep is a great way to take things off your mind for a little while. Take a little break from the real world.

Create a safe space. Whether this be ranting to your best friend, writing in a journal, or under your covers with a cup of tea, make a space for yourself to collect your thoughts and feelings in order to resist bad temptations. I always grab some green or peppermint tea and lie down on my right side on my phone watching YouTube. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out. Experts are aware that Christmastime is a hard time for those struggling with any type of mental illness. A simple search of “eating disorder” in your Google search bar, will bring up the closet means of support based on your location. Try hotlines, or online chats, or gaze through the many articles the website may have. Don’t worry, they know how you feel, they’ve seen it before, you are not alone.  

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