Blogmas day 8 is a more serious post but something that I really want to talk about because I could never really find anything on it. In the past couple of years, people are talking about mental health and eating disorders a lot more and finally, there is awareness surrounding the topic. But I do remember searching the internet in 2017 and not being able to find anything. There’s a specific reason why I’m uploading this post today.
Let me tell you a story…
Friday 15th December 2017 is in the top 3 worst days of my life. This isn’t a sob story, I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, I just want to explain how I was feeling that day.
The story really begins on Thursday 14th December 2017 when I had a bad appointment at the eating disorder clinic. I think it was my last appointment before Christmas and I never really talked much in those meetings but I was absolutely terrified of how I was going to cope with Christmas since this was the first year that my family knew of my eating disorder and that I was struggling.
I felt so alone and I wasn’t coping at school, on the Thursday, I just could not concentrate whatsoever. I remember sitting at the back of my tutor’s class and trying to get on with some work but I couldn’t stop worrying.
The day after, I was much the same, I don’t really know why I went to school that day – probably because I wanted to pretend everything was fine to my parents. But, I was completely miserable and I just remember feeling SO alone and really shut out.
There were so many uncertanties going around in my head.
Would they watch me eat? If I eat something yummy at Christmas, do I really have an eating disorder? What if someone comments on how I look? What if I get chocolate for Christmas, am I meant to act happy?
I searched the internet for questions like this and I couldn’t find anything, so here is my guide for coping with an eating disorder at Christmas.
*I’m not an expert or a professional, this is just things that have helped me during my experience*
Stick to a routine
I think that this is really important because, at Christmas, people’s timetables tend to go out the window. It’s like we’re on a different body clock or something. But having a routine and planning out what you’re going to do each day is something that keeps me grounded.
Have a list of distractions
I found that often before/after meals were specific times when I would need to be keeping busy. This can literally be anything but if you already have a list of distractions, then you can just pick one and get on with it without really thinking. Some ideas are colouring, watching a feel-good tv show/movie, journalling, painting etc.
It might be good to plan some downtime for yourself as Christmas tends to get quite hectic!
Related post: 100 distractions
This one is obviously going to be a bit harder but in hindsight, I really wish that I had taken the time to plan out what to eat, specifically snacks. If you plan it out, then you can mentally prepare yourself for the meal and you’ll know which days might be harder than others etc. If you don’t want to do this alone, maybe ask someone who you find easy to talk to and who is supportive about this.
I’ve created a template that has space for all three meals + snacks! Subscribe to receive it <3
Come up with a secret signal
My mum and I actually did this, I would send her a specific emoji if I was feeling anxious or that I couldn’t cope any longer and she would help me get out of the situation. Even if you don’t end up using it, it’s a really good thing to have in place.
Focus on what you enjoy at Christmas
It may seem like it now when all your thoughts are consumed with food but it doesn’t need to be the focus of the festive period. Try to focus on what you like doing such as, decorating the house, making decorations, festive films, music etc.
Be kind to yourself
This is the most important. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you are allowed to make mistakes and you deserve to have a good Christmas <3
There’s going to be a second part to this post where I talk about how you can support someone with an eating disorder this Christmas – stay tuned x
Best wishes, Cx