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Handling The Holidays

THE HOLIDAYS ARE UPON US!  But the holidays are also fleeting.  This will pass! This year there are only about 38 days till January 2, 2019

So, let’s look at what’s important; what do you love?  What would you prefer to do without?  What do you want to have in your life this year?  What are the traditions you most enjoy? Decorating?  Gift giving? Cards? Music?  Parties? Entertainment? Family?

Whatever it is that you most want and love, plan now to put that into your celebration. For many of us, people are the purpose. There are some people we want to spend more time with, and some folks we could do with less of.

For people with any flavor of eating disorder, the holidays can be a time of conflict. Memories of foods from past years, whether good or bad memories, are powerful motivators.  And the holidays are usually full of high-calorie low-nutrient foods with which we struggle. So, let us take a look at tips and suggestions to help you get through the season with joy and abundance.

No matter your religion, it comes down to acknowledging the gifts that you have received that make your life better your, body healthier and that enhance your ability to create the life you always wanted.

Abstinence is a gift.  We must ask for it.  We must do the work to keep it, and then we give it to another in the form of service.

Next, prioritize.  What do you really want this holiday season?  What activities do you most enjoy about the season?  What do you most want to have time to do?  What makes the season important to you?  Make a list. Plan now to make time to do the things that are important to you, the things that will make your holiday special and precious.

What is the support you need to do the things that are precious to you, but still maintain your abstinence?  Plan your meetings, set up your phone calls, tuck in time for prayer and meditation.  Start a new recovery book.  Whatever you need to do to make it through PLAN IT IN NOW!!! Mark it on your calendar so that nothing takes its place.

For example, be up front with those you are going to interact with and tell them that you care about them, but you have to leave at 11:30 to make it to the 12:00 meeting, and stick to your boundaries! CONSIDER sharing your calendar with support people, so you can get a phone call at 11:30 telling you to leave, then go, focus on the meeting, and DO NOT let yourself feel guilty!

Give yourself a break every day. Take ten minutes out just for you. Breathe, listen, do whatever you wish that is not food and makes you feel good.  Take the time to smell the pine tree or pet the cat.

Plan activities that are not food based. What else would you enjoy? A trip to the farm to cut down your own tree? A hayride? A train ride? A walk through the mall to see the decorations? A drive around the neighborhood to look at the lights? Is there anything you always wanted to do at this time of the year, and just never did it? (It seemed silly, or others would judge you, etc.) Plan to do it! It will make you happy, and cross an item off your bucket list! J

Plan your food. Go to the grocery store now and buy as many staples as you can, so you’ll run out less often. (Don’t forget toilet paper, shampoo, and paper towels!) Try frozen fruits and vegetables, make a pot of your favorite entrée and freeze it for emergencies, and set up your kitchen to make life easier.  Plan out what you are going to do each day. For example, “Tuesday I will take the turkey out and thaw it, I will bag up several metabolics; I will make 2 meatloafs and freeze one”. Once you did those three or four things on your list, then it’s time to relax! Don’t do everything in one day!

Pay attention to the timing of your meals. Do not allow yourself to go more than five hours without eating; that will only make you tired and cranky. Do not let yourself get over hungry. Always expect there to be a delay in eating time; have an extra metabolic if you need to; even if you are not “normally” supposed to have a metabolic at that time.

When you are invited to holiday events, call ahead and ask what food will be served. Make sure you will have what you need, and take something to share if what the host is offering is not appropriate.

Create your own personal nonfood agenda for the events you attend. Why are you going? To see your Mom and make her feel good? To check out Cousin Paul’s new wife? To see cousin Sally? To meet Andrea’s new baby? To see Dear Aunt Tilly, at 89? To network with people with whom you want to work?  What do you want to accomplish? Prepare an answer for those who ask, “Can’t you have just one?” Try responses like, “Not this year” or “Not right now” or just, “No, thank you.”  You are not required to explain your choices. Pay attention to where you sit. Sit near people you want to be with, and not next to your favorite binge food.

Not all holiday events may be pleasant. Let yourself skip or shorten the events that may disturb you. Decide if you need to go on time and leave when it’s over, or early, and leave early, or go late, and enjoy the afterglow.  Often, in stressful situations, we tell ourselves, “I’ll just get through this; then I’ll take care of myself”. That does not work. When your stress level is high, you need more support, not less. Plan for some rest time after these emotional events. You may need time to recover and time to process your feelings.  Bookend these events with phone calls to trusted people, journal time, prayer time, or a meeting.

Reach out to your support network.  Set up more time for those people and activities that make you feel whole and strong. Allow extra time for your recovery program.  When you need help, give yourself permission to ask for it.

Put good stuff in your life. Write yourself a letter and tell yourself all the good things you have accomplished this year. Thank your body for the hard work it has done this year to maintain itself and to do the things you wanted to do. Thank yourself for your hard work and acknowledge how much you have grown. Write thank you notes to the people who have helped you and stood behind you this year.

As you move through your holidays you may notice regrets or things you have not done, or things you want to do.  Make a list so that at the beginning of the New Year you can decide and plan to make 2019 the kind of year that you want it to be.  Each day of our lives is precious, try to stay present and enjoy.

I hope these ideas will help you truly have a happy and healthy holiday season.  I’ll be available through most of the holiday season; if you need an “extra dose of Theresa,” please be welcome to call.

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all the good people you have supporting you in your life; I want to thank you for supporting me and Renaissance this year.  If you know someone who might be helped by this blog, please forward the link to them.

Please leave a comment and let me know how your holiday season is going and what would help you.



 P.S. You just survived another five minutes of the holidays! Keep going!

4 Responses to Handling The Holidays

  1. Cari Heumann November 28, 2018 at 3:00 am #

    Theresa, I always enjoy reading your blogs. They are so helpful. Especially the tips above. Over the holidays, one of my biggest challenges will be the need to pay close attention to the timing of my meals. I will be at several gatherings that will include my binge foods, so I appreciate the reminder to create a non-food agenda. The holidays do bring an increased level of stress into my life, so I will be sure to increase my levels of support!
    Thanks again for all of these helpful tips!

  2. cSmall November 28, 2018 at 3:07 pm #

    How beautiful Theresa.
    I want freedom from compulsive eating, being present to loved ones.
    HP, sponsor, you, all have contributed tonpositive in my life today, rhanks

  3. Anne Haag November 28, 2018 at 3:08 pm #

    Thank you Theresa! May you have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

  4. Danelle m November 28, 2018 at 3:17 pm #

    What a beautiful sentiment! Happy Thanksgiving, Theresa! Grateful for you!

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