Well, the holidays season is right around the corner. How it has snuck up on us, I don’t know.
It has been a difficult year to put it gently. This holiday season, you may be searching for an extra dose of holiday cheer as 2020 closes out.
As I help to prepare my clients for this holiday season and as someone who still finds myself getting a touch anxious around the holidays, I know that these next few months can be overwhelming and quite frankly terrifying for those in early recovery to navigate. Holidays are deemed as “the most wonderful time of the year.” But for many, this isn’t a joyous time for them. Maybe they are struggling with addiction or an eating disorder. Maybe the loss of a loved one permeates the holidays with grief and sorrow. Maybe the overwhelming anxiety regarding COVID-19 is palpable.
Sickness. Anxiety. Depression. OCD. Finances. Whatever you may find yourself struggling with, please know that you aren’t alone. You don’t have to force yourself to go along with pretending to be fine when you are not. You can acknowledge that this is a hard time, give it a seat at the table with you, allow it to share space there, AND STILL stay in recovery through it all.
I’d like to share some tips for surviving the holidays when you have an eating disorder/addiction/mental health struggles.
1. Be extra gentle with yourself. Get lots of sleep, follow your normal schedule as much as you can, drink water, and get some fresh air. At the end of the day, we are just house plants with more complicated feelings!
2. Follow the plan that you and your recovery team have established. If you don’t have a plan, please advocate for yourself and make one. Know what your meal plan is. Know who your supports are to call on in times of crisis or if overwhelming emotions come up. No, don’t future trip. But cope ahead using your wise mind to create a plan if things begin to go south. Family and people in general can be tough to navigate when struggling with the constant thoughts between our ears. Family isn’t always blood. So know what boundaries you need to have in place to keep yourself and your recovery safe.
3. Have your recovery circle on standby. Again, get to a meeting, call your sponsor, email your therapist, face time a friend. Whatever you need. Don’t feel selfish asking for support. We all need it. We are NOT islands.
Feel free to unfollow or block or politely decline any invitation to spend time with others who don’t feed your soul. It’s ok to do that. People pleasing will not keep your recovery safe. Boundaries will.
4. Practice mindfulness. It may feel like this day is a giant hole in time, but remember, all we truly have is 24 hours. We aren’t promised tomorrow. Do your best to stay present. If you notice your anxiety beginning to spiral, gently bring yourself back to the moment you are in now. The past is gone and the future isn’t promised.
Break it down into minutes if you need. Engage with family and friends. Taste the food mindfully (if you can). Distraction. Notice the colors in the room. Hear the sounds around you. Step outside for seem deep breathes to ground yourself.
5. Gratitude. You are alive, and I’m so grateful you are. Practicing gratitude, even just writing down a list of 5 to 10 things that you are grateful for, can shift your whole mentality.
The universe needs you in it. Thank you for being here this holiday season. If you need support, reach out. You matter. You are worth it. Happy holidays y’all!
From Sinnergy to YOU!