5 Things to Remember This Holiday Season

The holiday season can bring mixed feelings for many, but it can be a particularly challenging time of year when you are recovering from an eating disorder. Food-centric activities, difficult family dynamics and not to mention the – sometimes – insensitive comments made by loved ones can bring heightened stress and trigger eating disorder behaviors.

When you feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious around this time of year, try to remember what the holidays are really all about. Here are five things to help you realize that this season is above all a time of joy, family, gratitude, and love.

Breathe

Remember to take deep breaths. Deep breathing sends oxygen to your brain which re-energizes you and helps you to feel more calm and centered. Whenever you feel anxious or overwhelmed, take a moment to bring your attention back to your breath.

Try to notice the texture and rhythm of your breath. Don’t try to change it – simply notice it.

Take time for yourself

You don’t have to say “yes” to every social engagement that comes your way. It’s perfectly okay to take some time to recharge your batteries. Go for a nice walk, listen to your favorite music or read a good book. By slowing down, you will have more energy to actually enjoy the holiday celebrations.

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Create new memories

During the holiday gift shopping madness, it’s easy to lose sight of the larger goal of appreciating your life and the people in it, and creating new memories to treasure. Take a moment to remind yourself what this season is really all about because the best gifts – the ones that will last for a lifetime – are the memories that are made this time of year.

Don’t compare your family situation to a Hallmark card

We all know the postcards of perfect families where everyone looks so jolly and happy to be together or Facebook and Instagram posts of beautifully decorated Thanksgiving dinner tables and perfectly decorated Christmas trees. But those aren’t the whole truth, nor reality. They don’t show complicated family dynamics, screaming toddlers running around because they can’t sit at the dinner table for three hours straight, brothers and sisters fighting over Christmas gifts, burned Turkeys, or fighting family members who only see each other once or twice a year. When you find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others or the pictures you see in magazines and on postcards, turn to the present moment in front of you and find ways to appreciate it.

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Be grateful

When you find yourself worrying about food, complicated family dynamics or Christmas presents, try to remember the true spirit of the season and be grateful for the present moment. The holiday season is the perfect time to take a moment, pause, and reflect on the gifts you’ve been given and the people you have in your life. Practicing gratitude has also proven to be one of the best methods for reducing stress and increasing feelings of joy, pleasure, and happiness.

Happy Holidays!

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