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Managing Anxiety During the Holidays

For most of us, the holidays fill us with joy, peace, and happiness. However, for those practicing recovery from an eating disorder, envisioning themselves at a holiday gathering may bring overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety. 

Although eating disorders can make celebrating holiday traditions difficult, fostering change and challenging disordered thoughts can help make them enjoyable. As you begin to plan for your holiday celebrations, remember these tips to help manage your anxiety. 

  1. Practice Self-Care

    Self-care during eating disorder recovery is vital, but even more important during the holidays. You can battle the seasonal stress by making time for yourself. That may be a hot bath, a yoga class, or enjoying time with close friends and family. Give yourself grace and focus on activities that you enjoy. Self-care is all about you and doing things that make you grounded.

  2. Don’t Ignore Your Feelings

    Telling yourself and others that you are fine is not helpful. While it may be tempting to keep your feelings bottled up, let someone in. The holidays are easier to navigate when you have support. Be honest about how holiday gatherings make you feel, and know it might be best to decline some invitations.

  3. Practice Gratitude

    Remember that the holidays are about the time spent with your loved ones. Practicing gratitude helps you to focus on the good and meaningful things in your life. It is sometimes difficult to practice gratitude in moments of stress, but it can help you find meaning and enjoyment during the holidays.

  4. Breathe

    When you feel stressed or anxious, stop, and breathe. Use the mindfulness techniques you have learned to help focus your thoughts. Taking a moment to breathe, pray, or meditate can help you connect with your inner self and calm your mind.

Finding a balance during your holiday events can help you turn your challenges into triumphs. During these difficult times, remember to give yourself compassion and lean on your support system. Discuss any hesitations you may have and know they are there to help you through this time. More importantly, look for the deeper meaning of the holidays. The focus of this special time is to be shared with loved ones and experience the season of giving, rather than food. Allow yourself to enjoy these connections and let them guide you through your celebrations. 

At Selah House, we understand the complexities of eating disorders and the negative feelings that may arise from the added holiday hustle and bustle. Our faith-based program offers women and girls (age 12+) a healing environment where they can recover spiritually, emotionally, and physically from their eating disorder. Our evidence-based programming provides therapeutic opportunities for processing underlying issues that have led to eating disorders. Our goal is to help each client heal and transform by learning the coping skills needed to support recovery and find long-term freedom from eating disorders. For more information, call our admissions team today or complete our contact form

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