Christmas is a special time of year; we give and receive gifts from our loved ones, we decorate our houses and of course we have the Christmas dinner: where we all get together around the table with our family and friends to munch our way through massive amounts of turkey, roast potatoes and vegetables.
However, if you or your loved one has an eating disorder, of any kind, the Christmas dinner can be more stressful than special.
I myself am really lucky, my family are very understanding that I can’t manage to do everything I’m sure they would like me to do. They don’t (openly) judge me for it and I never get questioned about my behaviour around that time. As an admin of an eating disorders support group on Facebook I have noticed that not everyone’s family are quite so understanding and supportive so I would like to take this opportunity to maybe make some suggestions about how you can help yourself or your loved one get through this period in the future.
– Be prepared: If you know that Christmas dinner is going to be difficult acknowledge the fact that it will be difficult. Set yourself up so that you can have a place to fall back to if things get too much. Make sure that place can cater to your needs and you have enough distractions and things to calm you down in there. I went out for a walk feeling horrible on Christmas, saw a couple of old Mercedes on my travels which distracted me from my thoughts and was able to head back fine.
-Be realistic: Set yourself achievable goals. Do try to part-take in the festivities but don’t strain yourself. If you stack your plate up with mountains of food chances are you will fail. Just have a little of what you fancy. As someone once said to me “a little of what you fancy does you good!”. If another family member normally dishes up then tell them that you would like to do yours yourself. Make your needs known.
-Don’t beat yourself up: If you have to fall back then don’t worry about it. Be positive that you made it through as much as you did and you tried.
-Don’t feel others are watching you: This is something I used to really really struggle with. Not only at Christmas but at restaurants, at drifting, even at home I used to isolate myself when I ate. The truth of it is people really don’t give a damn, they are far too busy eating and chatting to each other to pay any heed to what you are doing.
Also think about the other things that make Christmas special, so you look forward to them rather than stress about the food. Christmas reminds you how much everyone around you loves and cares about you. It’s the start to the countdown to the new year. New year new start! Think of all the colours and the decorations, go to town and soak it all in. When you aren’t stressing about shopping or food it really is magical!
Thanks for reading!