The holiday season comes around every year and creates a ripple in our everyday life. For most the holidays are to connect, gather, love and celebrate. For us in recovery from addiction, eating disorders and mental health, the holidays can be a struggle and difficult to maneuver.
In recovery, I have learned that I can enjoy the holidays just as much as others if I take care of my needs. Below are some lessons I have learned throughout my journey.
I sincerely hope they can provide for you what they have provided for me.
Retreat and Recharge – Take time away from guests to recharge. I experience a lot of anxiety around the holidays – especially around food and people. My first year in recovery, and every year since,I have retreated to my bedroom for a while after dinner to recharge. Yes, I felt guilty for stepping away from the festivities, and, when I came back to the party, I had the energy to make up for my brief absence. We can be better company by being better to our needs.
Eat the Food – It has become a country-wide, diet culture tradition to “save space for the big feast” by restricting the day of the holiday/ holiday party. Do not fall for this diet culture tradition. We in eating disorder recovery are prescribed a meal plan. Recovery does not take a holiday and neither do our meal plans. Each year I am empowered by knowing that I am not feeding into the diet culture and staying strong in my recovery. We are not diet culture slaves, we are Recovery Warriors!
Use Your Skills – We did not basically earn degrees in recovery by not putting our skills into practice. Radically accept that our holidays look different than those who are not in recovery. (Radically accept that our holidays this year look different in general). Let those harmful comments float past you like leaves on a stream. Practice mindfulness – go for a walk, hang out with the kids, and eat mindfully. Use your five senses to self soothe. Use DBT skills for support in the moment when we are struggling or to make the moment more manageable”. ACCEPTS and IMPROVE to destress. PLEASE emotionally regulate. DEAR MAN, GIVE, and FAST to make the most interpersonal effectiveness. Trust me when I say, these skills are your most treasured holiday gifts.
-Set and keep boundaries
-Identify a recovery ally
-Meet yourself where you are at
-Reach out for support
-Keep moving forward!
Sending love and hope this Holiday Season.