Oh Christmas…being marketed as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ really is just ironic, isn’t it?!
Don’t get me wrong, Christmas can be magical especially as a kid, but the older you get it’s more like stress central, family feuds fuelled by one too many mulled wines, leaving the shopping til 3 days before Christmas, having hours of awkward, intrusive, personal conversations with people you only see once a year, and for me the big one has to be all those pesky social eating situations!
Recovering from an eating disorder, social eating was a massive hurdle for me, and I’m really thankful that after months of hard work I’ve pretty much smashed it out the park. However that doesn’t really prepare you for the Christmas season. For me it’s coming home for 3 weeks and anxiously checking my calendar that seems to have some sort of social interaction on every damn day, and most of them revolving around food!
Christmas is so focussed on food, and I spend at least 4 months in the run up to the day stressing over hypothetical situations and letting my mind run a million miles a minute overthinking things that will actually probably never even happen.
This is my first Christmas in active recovery, and that is built up as a BIG deal, I even had a whole appointment with my doctor to talk over Christmas and how to deal with it.
To cut a very long blog post short, I’m going to get to the point. I’m taking Christmas into my own hands this year, and I’m determined to get through it like any other damn day! Here is a list that I have complied in order to make Christmas as smooth running as possible…
- Just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean that meal plans should go out the window! In the run up to the big day, when scheduling in seeing friends, if they do involve eating then make sure it fits in with your schedule! I have specific eating times that I’ve had since I began treatment and they don’t need to get lost amongst the Christmas mayhem. Christmas day shouldn’t be any different, if I can hit my meal plan every day of the year why should this day be any different?!
- What are you eating on Christmas day…do you know? I don’t. I made the decision this year to not find out in advance what was being served at dinner, purely because if I knew, I’d spend days trying to talk myself around it. Sometimes going in blind to these things are the best way to deal with the situation, and that is exactly what I’ll be doing! It minimises pre-Christmas anxiety and allows me to tackle a potential fear food on the spot without the overthinking in advance.
- Walk away. Sometimes Christmas brings people out of the woodwork that you’ve not seen in a long time, who come armed with a series of intrusive personal questions. Not only is this rude AF but can also be super triggering or just a really crappy, and you are well within your rights to turn around and be like, nope sorry not up for discussion! Trust your gut and make it easier for yourself.
- See it like every other day. That is my plan this year at least! Christmas comes with a side order pressure every year and this year I’m not wanting that extra unwanted fuss thanks! Stick to what you know, incorporate your daily life into it and it really doesn’t need to be seen as anything special at all.
- Cut down that alcohol intake. It’s so easy for the fizz to go to your head at Christmas time which can really spike anxious and paranoid thoughts, and lead to overthinking and other nasties! This Christmas I’m going to be minimising my alcohol intake to keep my head as clear and logical as possible.
- I have a dog and you best believe I will spend as much as the lead up to the day with her as possible! Dogs are such a natural stress reliever and my greyhound is an actual angel in dog form.
- Don’t worry if you slip up. It happens! In the lead up to Christmas I’m reading over my relapse prevention plan to make sure I’m all clued up on how to deal with any set backs to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand!
- Reclaim the notion of Christmas and make it your own. It’s not for everyone, especially for those of us with eating disorders, so make sure the day is as normal as possible, just with a little extra sparkle!
If you are struggling then let someone you trust know so they can keep an extra eye out for you on Christmas, and if you know anyone struggling then please check in with them and just let them know you’re there for them!
Wishing everyone a very normal day, like every other day, which just happens to be on December 25th,