Plan ahead: prepare a game plan going into the Holiday.
Discuss with your treatment team a relapse prevention plan; Print and bring written down relapse prevention plan with you on Holiday
Can you make your Holiday a Fat Talk Free Zone? I know this may be hard, but it would be a wonderful goal!
If possible, could you ask for a No Comment on eating disorder zone? Contact your friends or family before the meal to let them know where you are in your recovery, what you need, and don’t need, as well as boundaries, triggers.
Do you have a supportive person who will be at the meal? If so, communicate with them before, during, and after meals. Keep accountable with them.
Know your triggers & prepare a plan to approach for each trigger
Practice self talk: With every negative thought, counter it, bring a list of counter points to repeat to yourself; this is a useful tool to reframe your thoughts
Escape plan: I don’t mean this in a “run away from the situation” perspective. I mean, if you feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, take a break, find a safe place, take a walk, find a quiet place to re-collect and replenish
Know & stick to your boundaries
Wear comfortable clothing
Talk with loved ones about important issues: decisions, victories, challenges, fears, concerns, dreams, goals, special moments, spirituality, relationships and your feelings about them. Allow important themes to be present and allow yourself to have fun rather than rigidly focusing on food or body concerns. (Source: NEDA)
Have phone numbers of your support system on hand: ask your support team if they would mind you calling them if you are struggling
Make a list of all the things you are grateful for!
Allow yourself to eat when hungry, stop when full. Listen to your body. Take moments to put the fork/spoon down in between bites to truly savor, taste the flavors, textures, etc.
Tweet when stressed! #RecoveryWarriors
If you find preparing a dish or helping cook to be helpful, then do so! If it triggers you, then know that and stay out of that role
Eat Breakfast – do not skip a meal because you fear the lunch or dinner, skipping meals can trigger you off your meal plan, or lead to potential binge eating later
Eat regularly – stick to your meal plan if you have one
Bring your own foods if necessary – you can even make more of them, to make it appear like “sharing” and not a separate food plan
Feelings check in: How are you feeling? What is going on?
Breathing check in: Take a few moments to take a few mindful, deep breaths whenever anxious
Visualize your happy place if overwhelmed. Take five minutes to yourself and close your eyes visualizing a safe place
If you have a dog, can you take for a walk with your support system or alone to clear your head?
Set goals that are not food related. Have a goal to talk to different people, play games, play with kids, the dog(s), etc.
Stay active with your support system, support groups, mentor, friends, etc.
If possible, spend time with other people in recovery
Never leave home without your recovery tool box! If you have a list of healthy coping skills, tools, worksheets, quotes, remember to print out and bring with you!
Breathe (Yes I am repeating this one because it is so important!)
Let go of perfectionism – the best that you can
Serenity Prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference
HALT: Don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
Here are some recommendations from people on Twitter and Facebook:
Know holidays will end! It’s nice to be able to enjoy it, but when it’s hard I just think it will be January soon.
Enjoying a family holiday activity the brings back *good memories*… and sharing it with a new friend, just us
Allowing myself to step out if the room or the house if I start to feel overwhelmed. I always come back, but I allow myself to feel the emotions that I am feeling, tell someone I am feeling them, walk away, and then come back when I calm down.
YOGA! Any time of year, but esp. the holidays. Helps me gain focus throughout my day and be at peace with my body.
Say a prayer
Eliminating expectations! Of traditions, my family, myself, etc. Remembering that no matter what, everything is still OK
Take a break from holiday bombardment on tv and radio by reading an engaging favorite novel
Remembering that I am okay where I am at. And Just remembering to give myself grace
Write a note to all family members saying why you are thankful for them. It helps keep your mind off of the food and on the meaning of the holiday.
In the end, be flexible with your eating, and forgiving of yourself. It is ok to struggle, and ok to feel you have slipped. Reach out, ask for help, call a supportive person, or pull aside a trusted family member and communicate your struggle. You are not alone.