Christmas and Eating Disorders: Are Christmas Holidays Making You Anxious?
Words by James Lamper
Christmas and the holiday season is a time of great joy for some, but great stress for others. For people who struggle with emotional eating, disordered eating and eating disorders this can be a time of high anxiety and fear (read our previous post about Christmas and eating disorders).
Going home for Christmas, to be around family members where relationships are damaged from childhood pain, and perhaps maintained with current day ignorance, can be a source of negative feelings for many. Those affected by disordered eating who use food to cope, by binge eating, purging or restricting find themselves under even more pressure because of the sheer amount of food around and the social pressure to eat and celebrate. No wonder eating difficulties flare up as emotions become overwhelming.
So what to do if you or a family member have eating disorders?
First up find other ways to soothe your own feelings. As you start to notice ‘something’ happening inside, an emotion starting to rise, take some deep breaths to release endorphins in the brain. The ensuing calmness will give you an internal breathing space to consider your options. You can do what you’ve always done and binge, purge and restrict, and enjoy the same negative payoffs you always get, or you can do something else. get up, move around, go for a walk, stretch, call a friend you trust. Ride and surf the peak of your emotions, and through breathing, distraction and calming notice how the wave of your emotion breaks on the shore, as it dissipates inside of you. Well done, you have found a new way of coping with your emotional distress and the chaos of Christmas.
Come to wonderful workshop ‘Surviving the Festive Holidays’ to receive more stress-busting tips to get you through the festive season.
We are a friendly and professional team of therapists specialising in eating disorder treatment. Look at our team page for more information.