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How to Navigate the Holidays

Tis’ the season. We have officially entered the holiday season in full force. For many this time of year can be extremely exciting and one of the best times of the year, however, at the same time this time of year can be stressful and anxiety provoking. For those struggling with their relationship with food, body, or themselves this can be one of the most challenging times out of the year. If you feel nervous, anxious, or fearful of the upcoming holiday season, firstly, we tip our hat off to you for recognizing the feelings. However, let's dive into 5 tips to help navigate the holiday season.

1. Set boundaries and stand firm. Setting boundaries for yourself can help alleviate any added stress or pressure that can occur during events. Boundaries are any limits you set for yourself or limits you set for a situation. For example, if you are engaged in conversation with a family member or friend and begin to notice the conversation shifting into triggering topics, acknowledge beforehand how you wish to respond or even remove yourself from the conversation completely. This is a great topic to discuss with either your therapist or dietitian to gauge what response or situation is best for you.

2. Create a support system. Having a support system can make a huge difference as to how you manage the holiday triggers. This can be a friend or family member who you feel comfortable relying on during an anxious moment. Begin by compiling a list of people in your life who you feel as though you can count on. This may also go as far as having a conversation with your support system to discuss what YOU will need during certain situations. An example would be asking your support system to remind you of your coping skills or even removing yourself from a situation to reconnect.

3. Have coping skills prepared. Coping skills are a reliable tool for anxious situations. Examples can include deep breathing, listening to music, art, puzzles, and much more. Knowing what skills work and which don’t are important so that you can easily access supportive coping skills during triggering moments and help alleviate any added stress during the holidays.

4. Self-Care. Giving yourself attention and care can be one of the most important things during the holiday season. Getting carried away with the hustle and bustle of the holidays can happen easily. However, it can take a huge toll on your recovery and mental health. Give yourself permission to show yourself self-care by doing the things YOU enjoy doing. Examples can include doing your nails, taking a bath, reading a good book, or even taking a day off.

5. Wear something comfortable. While focusing on doing all the things to help your inner-self we can’t forget about the outer-self too. Therefore, don’t forget to feel comfortable and wear something YOU want to wear. If your clothes don’t feel right to you, there is a good chance you won’t feel good overall. Allow yourself to feel good and proud in the clothes you wear, no matter the style or size. Clothes are meant to fit us, not the other way around. There is no shame in being a certain size or having your own unique style. We are all different, and that is what makes each and every one of us powerful.

We encourage you to talk about these 5 tips with your therapist and dietitian as we hope they are helpful for you during the holiday session. If you have any questions or concerns, please give our office a call at 571-310-6029 or email us directly at

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