8 Tips for Coping with An Eating Disorder During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us – a time when tradition sends many of us off to gather with our loved ones for quality time, gift giving, and shared food experiences. Unfortunately, for those who struggle with food related disorders, the stress can feel overwhelming.

If you are coping with an eating disorder you are not alone. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 30 million Americans struggle with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating. As a result of an eating disorder, you may be struggling with feelings of guilt after eating, body image stress, fears about weight gain, or anxiety around food.

The holidays can be quite food-centered. Some may be nervous about coping during the coming months or wishing they could skip out on the festivities altogether.

Since we know that avoidance only increases anxiety, it’s important that we face our challenges. Below are 8 tips to help you show up, cope, and maintain your recovery this holiday season.

  1. Cope Ahead – Prepare yourself to cope with stress before you’re in a stressful situation. Take some time to consider what potential stressors you may face. Then, identify coping skills and problem-solving strategies you will use. Imagine in vivid detail, the stressor and successfully coping with it. You can rehearse this as many times as you wish. That way, when the time comes, you’ll know exactly what to do.
  2. Identify Your Support System – Who are the people in your life that help you through tough times? Make a list and consider why you chose each person. Maybe one is a great listener and another is an awesome problem-solver and another is someone you can go to for a good laugh. Then, make sure you reach out to those people for support during the holidays.
  3. Ask For Help – This one is a great follow up to tip #2. Asking for help can be difficult. You may have judgments about it such as, ‘I’ll be a burden’ or ‘I’m weak if I ask for help.’ Talk to your support system ahead of time and get some reassurance. Ask them directly, ‘Would it be okay if I reach out to you for help if I’m having a hard time?’ If they say yes, believe them. If they say no, you can find someone else who is available. However, the most important thing is that you follow through and ask for that support.
  4. Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the act of paying attention on purpose to the present moment without judgment. Basically, the moment just is and you and your thoughts are right there with it. Keep yourself present. When you catch yourself thinking about the past or worrying about the future, don’t be hard on yourself, just come right back to the moment. Deep breaths and grounding techniques such as taking a short walk can be very helpful here.
  5. Set Boundaries – Unfortunately, people make lots of comments about their own plates and about others’ food choices when it comes to shared food experiences. Much of that is a result of diet culture – the morality our society places on food and bodies. If you’ve ever heard someone say they’re having a ‘cheat day’ or that a food is ‘guilt-free’, then you’ve been exposed to diet culture. Boundaries are key when it comes to protecting your recovery. Be direct about what comments you’re not okay with and what topics of conversation you’d rather avoid.
  6. Prepare Some Responses – This one is a follow up to tip #5. It’s great to have some one-liners ready to help you set boundaries and keep yourself comfortable. Some examples include:
    • Let’s talk about something else.
    • I don’t want to engage in diet talk.
    • I know we used to talk about food in a different way, but I’m trying to change that.
    • I’m learning new things about my body and my hunger.
    • I don’t appreciate comments about my body/my food choices.
  7. Build Positive Experiences – You know those coping skills that help you feel better when you’re struggling? The ones like going for a walk, spending time with your pet, watching your favorite show, calling a friend, and taking a bubble bath. Don’t just save those for when you’re struggling. Use them regularly! This will help create positive experiences which will make you less vulnerable to holiday stress.
  8. Affirm Your Recovery – Eating disorders are life-destroyers and you deserve to live a full life. Remind yourself that recovery is worth it because the worst day in your recovery is better than the best day in your eating disorder. When it comes down to it, putting in the work to strengthen your recovery is the best holiday gift you can give to yourself.

About the Author: Jessica Aron, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice who is
passionate about helping teens and adults recover from eating disorders. She works virtually
with individuals in CT, FL, NH, NJ, NY, PA. She provides therapy services in English and Spanish. If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out today for a complimentary consultation.

Cómo ahorrar dinero este invierno

Cuando las temperaturas bajan y la gente pasa más tiempo dentro, inquilinos y propietarios se preocupan por los crecientes costos de vida. Los servicios públicos constituyen una porción sustancial de un presupuesto y no nos olvidemos…los días son más cortos, las noches más largas y en los días festivos se utilizan luces decorativas. A continuación, te presentamos algunas estrategias que te ayudarán a ahorrar dinero durante la temporada del invierno.

Cámbiate a un termostato inteligente
Esto puede ahorrar energía con casi ningún esfuerzo. Los termostatos se pueden programar para bajar la temperatura cuando duermes o cuando estás fuera de casa. Y luego, antes de regresar, se pueden ajustar para aumentar la temperatura de manera remota.

Usa electricidad durante las horas no pico
En varias localidades, las tarifas de electricidad cambian dependiendo de la hora, la demanda de electricidad y la temporada. Durante las horas pico el costo es el doble del de las horas no pico. Asegúrate que el lavavajillas y la lavadora llevan cargas completas y no olvides usar agua fría. Según la organización Alliance to Save Energy, lavar la ropa en la lavadora con agua fría puede ahorrar $63 al año.

Utiliza cortinas con elegancia
Según un estudio del Dto. de Energía de los EE.UU., “hasta un 30% de la energía de calefacción de un hogar se pierde a través de las ventanas”. Si la habitación tiene cortinas, ábrelas para permitir que los rayos del sol iluminen y calienten generosamente el espacio. Cierralas por la noche para mantener fuera el frío. Asegúrate de sellar las aberturas alrededor de la ventana para bloquear la entrada de aire y ahorrar energía.

Baja el calentador de agua
Otra manera rápida y fácil de ahorrar energía es reducir la temperatura del calentador de agua a 120ºF. Los nuevos calentadores de agua suelen venir de fábrica con temperaturas fijadas a 140ºF. También, recuerda aislar las tuberías de agua caliente y calentador con materiales aislantes aprobados.

No obstruyas las salidas de aire
Ten cuidado dónde colocar los muebles y las cortinas para que no bloqueen las salidas de aire. Al estar bloqueados, el sistema de climatización trabaja más y usa más energía para hacer circular el aire cálido. Asegúrete de que cada habitación de la casa esté recibiendo una buena circulación de aire.

Considera una estufa de pellets
Las estufas de pellets combinan la calidez y estilo de una estufa de leña tradicional pero con mayor facilidad y confort de uso. “Compramos una estufa de pellets para nuestra casa en Carmel y fue maravilloso”, dijo Maureen McGinn, una maestra pensionada de ciencias. “La estufa es fácil de mantener y es muy eficiente. Además, se apaga cuando el termostato llega a la temperatura fijada.”

¡Programa un chequeo!
Programa una revisión anual para asegurar que el sistema de calefacción esté limpio y listo para funcionar eficientemente. Una revisión puede encontrar problemas antes de que ocurran prolongando la vida del sistema.

Pon mantas y suéteres extras en toda la vivienda donde se los pueda encontrar fácilmente. Si la sala se pone fría, es muy sencillo tener un edredón acogedor o tu cárdigan favorito. También, las sábanas de franela y fundas nórdicas son aislantes y transpirables y te mantienen más cálido/a y cómodo/a cuando las temperaturas caen.