Even though I’m traveling the world as a digital nomad, I’m still working and am so grateful to Intern Anna for helping me out a couple times a month with my newsletter/blog posts. Today Anna is addressing holidays and eating disorders in hopes that you and your family might have an enjoyable holiday in spite of ed’s best efforts.

Thank you Intern Anna for sharing your insights on how you find Freedom from Ed during holidays. ~ Becky

FREEDOM FROM ED – by Intern Anna

Holidays can be hard. Especially because a lot of holidays focus around food. This creates a lot of anxiety and turmoil for those with eating disorders.

I know for me on holidays I felt obligated to eat the “normal” amount so I wouldn’t stand out. This would be counteracted by thoughts about my weight and body image. Usually the disordered eating patterns won over the people pleasing ones.

I think the stress of holidays can add to the pressure from the eating disorder. This compounded stress makes it difficult to problem solve and think more about the consequences of obeying the eating disorder.

One way to help cope with the stress of holidays is to think about what could happen and try to build a plan of attack. For example, if eating in front of others creates worry, think about how you could cope with those feelings. Is it possible for you to expose yourself to people while eating for a short period of time at first? Or is there a friend or family member that could come with you to help you gain confidence? Whatever you think the obstacle is, try to figure out how to overcome it, before the situation happens.

As caregivers, it can be especially important that you are patient and encouraging around holidays. As an individual in recovery, I know how much it meant when my family told me that they were here and that they supported me in my recovery process. I think that encouragement helped push through some tough times. It is also important to be patient and receptive. If your child or friend doesn’t want to be pushed, slow things down and try again at a later time. It is pertinent to let them feel like they have boundaries and can make their own choices.

One of the most freeing feelings for me has been eating regularly at holidays with friends and family. When I am able to enjoy my meal and the time with my loved ones, my eating disorder thoughts quiet down. Encourage your loved one that recovery can be freeing. Recovery can feel peaceful and help you to focus on the things that are most important to you.

I hope everyone’s holiday goes well and that freedom from the ED can be a goal. Start focusing on the positives and the things that are going well. Focus on family and friends and showing them your love. Take back what ED has stolen and find your freedom. Happy Fourth of July!

Intern Anna – for,