The holidays can be a challenging time if you’re in recovery for many reasons – from the abundance of a variety of foods to anxiety about social gatherings, or being in a different environment if you’re traveling. It’s often a busy and overwhelming time of year, even if you don’t celebrate any of the holidays. This year, choose to go into the holidays with these tips to support you in your recovery.
- Work with your team ahead of time. You can come up with ideas with your dietitian, like foods that are challenging but still comfortable for you to eat, or browsing a menu beforehand to come up with ideas on what to order if you’re eating out. Preparing ahead of time can help you go into the experience with a plan, so it doesn’t have to completely overwhelm you.
- Keep your eyes on your own plate. At social gatherings or meals, everyone will eat differently. Everyone has different food preferences, and during the holidays, I’d guess that most people do eat past their point of fullness to feel stuffed, which is totally normal every once in a while. When you’re in recovery, don’t compare your plate to others and wonder why they are eating less or more. You’re nourishing your body with food that works for your unique body!
- Practice self-care. Brainstorm a few self-care practices you can use on a regular basis, not only when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You could pick up a coloring book to relieve stress, do some gentle yoga poses, or write in your journal. These practices also travel well, so if you’re home or traveling for the holidays, you can always pack your journal or a coloring book.
- Pack snacks with you. While holiday gatherings typically have an abundance of food, it’s always helpful to have food with you just in case. If you do get hungry or need to add to your meal, you can easily grab a snack. Work with your dietitian to come up with snack ideas together.
- Ask for support. Even if you’ve prepared ahead of time, the mealtime may be stressful. Reach out for help to a family member or friend. They could help you prepare your dinner plate, sit next to you at a meal, or talk to you about what’s going on. Simply knowing they are there if you need them can be very comforting as well.
- Give yourself a break. The holidays can be stressful for everyone, so if you are having a hard time, be kind to yourself. Trust that recovery is never about perfection but rather progress and learning about yourself along the way.