Coping with Christmas
The Christmas period can be particularly challenging for those affected by eating disorders. The build up to the season, changes in routine, expectations around socialising and food can contribute to stress, pressure and conflicted thoughts and feelings.
Thoughts and feelings
Time alone can bring up a mixture of feelings. Be mindful of becoming isolated and try to stay in touch with someone if you can.
Be aware of the ‘all or nothing’ thought patterns that can create unrealistic and rigid expectations. It is not about eating everything or eating nothing. It is about listening to yourself, knowing that it is OK to have what you want, remembering that it is only one day and nothing awful will happen if you change the rules, and remembering that Christmas is not all about food. Food is only one part, and it is something that you can enjoy, but may require a little planning.
Christmas is a time that the eating disorder thoughts and feelings may wish to punish you. The nature of an eating disorder is such that it wants you to feel afraid and anxious so that you stick to its rules even more. Try to quiet the thoughts in your head by not allowing it to take over, and think about what you need to do to help with this.
- Try not to expect too much – either of yourself or others, or even of the day – and you will avoid feeling disappointed.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be hard on yourself. Be mindful of your inner critic.
Routine and planning