The Highlands Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

What’s Your Holiday Stress Strategy?

When you’re in recovery, you’ve got to be vigilant—ready to protect yourself against any external factors that might prove triggering, even if that simply means avoiding those factors altogether. Something that can often be triggering to those in eating disorder recovery is stress. Unfortunately, the holiday season tends to bring much stress along with it. Though it may be impossible to cancel the holidays, there are ways to develop a stress management plan, and to prepare yourself to stay strong in your recovery all season long. We’ll share some of our favorite stress management tips below.

How to Beat Stress This Holiday Season

Don’t overcommit yourself. The holidays place a lot of demands on all of us, and while you cannot necessarily avoid that completely, you can learn how to say no, and to be judicious with how you spend your time. You don’t have to attend every holiday gathering, host a dozen different events at your home, or volunteer for every charity event. Pick a couple of things you feel comfortable with, and take a pass on the rest. Ask for help. With whatever holiday obligations you may have, don’t hesitate to solicit some assistance. If you’re hosting a holiday party, ask someone to come help you decorate, or enlist others to provide food and beverages. See if a friend will come help you wrap gifts or put up your tree. Don’t be afraid to ask for a hand when you need one. Schedule key holiday activities. Disorganization breeds stress, but you can keep it in check by ensuring that you have a plan. Get a calendar or organizer and use it to set aside a day for shopping, a day for wrapping gifts, a day for getting your home ready for the holidays, and whatever other duties you have. Schedule some time to rest, too. The holidays are extraordinarily busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to yourself. Schedule a day to simply rest and relax, either before or after parties and gatherings, and also plan some time to do things you really enjoy—even if that just means a Saturday afternoon spent at the movies. Have someone you can talk to. Recovery isn’t something you should pursue alone, and during the thick of the holidays, you will need someone to confide in. Find a friend or loved one who knows about your struggle, and who will listen to you and let you lean on them during times of need. Have the right priorities. The holidays can often seem like they are all about gifts, or about parties, or about food and drink—but actually, they’re more about spending time with friends and family. Make that your priority for the rest of the year—simply spending intimate moments with people you care about—and let the rest take care of itself. Remain in therapy. Even though the holidays can get busy, you still want to make sure you show up for appointments with your therapist and your dietitian, as well as meetings with your support group. Don’t be tempted to cancel these appointments, even if you feel like you don’t need them on a particular day. You do need the support and the structure, and your recovery has to be the top priority. These strategies won’t make all your stress disappear, but they may help you to stand strong against it—and to keep your recovery on the right track. If you do need further help, contact Castlewood at The Highlands right away. We are here for you, always. How do you deal with stress? Tell us on Facebook!

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