“The holidays look different this year” is a phrase we’ve all heard, over and over and over recently. Yes, they do look different, but different can be ok. Sure, some of us are missing the things that have made our holidays memorable in the past, like being with family and friends. And maybe others of us are grateful for the break from family holiday traditions that can be stressful when you have an eating disorder or are recovering. Regardless, how can you make the most of the final few weeks of the year and start to shift your perspective for 2021?

Here are five things we think can help us all enjoy and make the most out of this holiday season.

  • Accept the reality and take it one day at a time – Lean in to the fact that this is not an ordinary year. Try to stay in the moment and look at the situation from the big picture perspective. It’s one year, and we are taking these precautions so that next year can be different. The holidays will come and go, try and stay in the moment and find gratitude when possible, strengths where you least expect them, and joyfulness in the spirit of the season.
  • Have some self-compassion and take this time to breathe. – It can be really hard this year, especially not to get caught up in the stress of what is happening in our world. Make time for yourself daily. Spend a few minutes before starting your day by meditating or practicing yoga. Break up your day by listening to some music and drinking a warm cup of tea, and try finishing your day by journaling. Recap on the day and mentally prepare for the morning to come.  Whatever it is you decide, make sure it’s something YOU enjoy.
  • Give thanks. – In general, this time of year is all about appreciating what we do have, rather than focusing on what we do not. Now more than ever, it is important to count our blessings, no matter how big or how small. Identify what you have appreciated over the past year, month, week, or even day. And pay this forward. We are all feeling uneasy this year so try to brighten someone else’s day. Call or Zoom with a friend or family who could use a little pick me up. Send someone a letter in the mail, volunteer, or donate to a local cause that may need a little extra help.
  • Keep the day structured – Most individuals who struggle with disordered eating thoughts or behaviors use a meal plan or have structured meal times. While flexibility is a goal for many in eating disorder treatment, the more structure that can be provided, the more at ease you or your loved one will feel.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. Identify family members or friends who can effectively support you in difficult moments. Talk to them in advance about any anxieties you might have and brainstorm how they can best help and guide you through specific scenarios. And remember, we are always here to help.

Remember, if the holidays are hard for you, you deserve the support necessary to get you through this difficult time. We’re always here to help during the holiday season (or any other time of year!) Please fill out the form on this page or call our Welcome Center at 888-305-2997. You are not alone.