Living With an Eating Disorder - A Christmas Survival Guide Part 1
The festive period can be difficult if you are struggling with disordered eating. Laura gives some tips about how she copes with Christmas whilst living with an eating disorder.
It’s almost here again, the time of year I really dread to be honest. I swear it isn’t because I’m a Scrooge or all "Bah humbug!"… it’s because I struggle with the different routine and the emphasis on food and drink, as well as both socialising and lazing around being cosy watching films. I do love being cosy mind you.
I thought I’d write a survival guide for the festive period, mainly so that I feel like I’m more prepared and a bit less anxious about it all. Some of it might be helpful to others and some of it might not.
Practical things first: make sure you are stocked up in advance with any medications you might need. And be sure to find out when your GP surgery will be closed. Most will be shut on Christmas Day and New Years Day, but make sure to check your local service to find out when they'll be open. A number of pharmacies will open for a short time on Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, but again make sure to check with your local service.
NHS24 and accident and emergency services will be open as normal during the festive period. And if you need somebody to talk to Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) and the Samaritans (call 116123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) will operate as normal.
Next up, the social side of things. It’s a time of year where you can feel both really pressured to go out and socialise with people, but also a time where you can feel really lonely and isolated. Try not to put pressure on yourself to do what you feel might be expected of you. Those who care about you will understand if you need to leave a night out early, they might be disappointed because they enjoy your company, but in the words of Dr Seuss “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!” So do what you feel able for.
That said, it is a good time of year to try push yourself to do a little more than you might normally – it’s a chance to catch up with people you might not see very often. Importantly, make sure you are with people who respect your choices. So if you want to leave early they should be ok with it, or if you choose not to drink alcohol they shouldn't question it for example.
Which brings me to alcohol. It's up to you if you choose to drink, but if you don’t or are advised not to, you don’t have to. Personally, I don’t have a reliable off switch after a few drinks so sometimes it is best for me not to drink at all - which can be hard with the “go on, have a drink!” culture. If you are someone who won’t be drinking alcohol, don’t be swayed by the pressure and enjoy your Irn Bru instead
Lastly for this post, do some stuff you actually enjoy. What is it you like to spend your time doing? Do it. If it’s going for a walk, going to the gym, baking, reading, watching movies, sitting in playing card games with friends, going to the pub, exploring new places, drawing, anything you can think of - do it! We focus so much on pleasing others during these holidays and forget about ourselves and what we need to get ready for another year, so spend some time being you.
Read Part 2 here.
Or why not read some other blog posts by Laura?