Most people await Thanksgiving day each year with hopeful anticipation for the day of food, family, and celebrating blessings. But, for people living with eating disorders, Thanksgiving may be a day to dread. As a person living with eating disorders, the holiday season can be something that brings about anxiety and fear. But, it doesn’t have to. People in eating disorder recovery can learn to enjoy Thanksgiving and other holidays that include food and eating. And, make Thanksgiving something to look forward to each year rather than dread.
The Problem With Thanksgiving for People With Eating Disorders
Thanksgiving is just one day. But, for a person struggling with eating disorders, Thanksgiving is a whole ordeal that may affect many days leading up to the event; causing worry, anxiety, stress, and overthinking. A person living with an eating disorder may obsess about thoughts surrounding Thanksgiving day like “how can I get away with not eating that day?”. Or, they may experience overwhelming feelings of dread and anxiety leading up to Thanksgiving that debilitates daily life.
Unfortunately, while Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy for many, for people living with eating disorders, it’s not. And, the negative feelings surrounding this day dedicated to eating turkey and stuffing is damaging. Specifically, as it can be a trigger for individuals trying to heal and in eating disorder recovery. So, it’s important for people in recovery from eating disorders to understand that Thanksgiving can bring about these emotions. This way, the trigger is avoided and recovery is maintained.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to support your recovery throughout the Thanksgiving holiday that may help you to enjoy the day a bit more.
Don’t Let Your Eating Disorder Thoughts Control You!
When the overwhelming thoughts that surround Thanksgiving day overwhelm you, remember that Thanksgiving is just one day! You shouldn’t give one day out of the year the power to control your thoughts and feelings. So, don’t! You can either give in to your self-destructive thoughts about eating on Thanksgiving. Or, you can tell those thoughts that they aren’t the boss of you! And that you deserve to enjoy Thanksgiving, and nothing can take that from you (even yourself)!
Don’t Forget About Your Eating Disorder Recovery Support System – Use Them!
The people around you supporting your recovery are the best weapon in your arsenal during the holidays. So, if you’re worried about Thanksgiving, don’t be afraid to use this support. One option is to ask someone who is willing to be your support go-to for the days leading up to Thanksgiving and on the day. Have them agree to come to Thanksgiving festivities with you, so you’re not alone. And, give them a call whenever you’re feeling your thoughts about Thanksgiving getting overwhelming. This will help give you some outside perspective, let you know that you’re not alone, and give you some support when you’re struggling with the stressors that come with this holiday.
Plan Something Fun That Doesn’t Include Food
One way to keep the negative feelings surrounding Thanksgiving away is to plan something to look forward to that doesn’t involve food. This way, instead of focusing on the negative feelings and thoughts that Thanksgiving may bring about, you have something else to focus on. Some ideas may be planning a family scavenger hunt, breaking out your favorite board games, or singing karaoke. When you give your mind something to be excited about on Thanksgiving day, you might find yourself distracted from all the negativity you may otherwise focus your mind on.
Get Support From Willow Place for Women
Do you find Thanksgiving is hard for you to look forward to due to an eating disorder? Do you often dread eating on Thanksgiving or think of ways to get out of Thanksgiving gatherings altogether as a result of these thoughts? If so, Willow Place for Women is here to help.
We offer support and treatment for women living with eating disorders of all kinds. Our outpatient services allow women to get the help they need discretely from compassionate individuals who have developed the program based on personal experiences with eating disorders.
Find out more about our services and how we can help you obtain lasting eating disorder recovery by contacting us today or calling 1-888-651-4212.