3 Holiday Struggles: Minimizing Holiday Stress by Practicing Self-Care
For most people, the holiday season is a time of celebration, family, drinking, and good food. Of course, family fights are also usually thrown into the mix. However, if you are in recovery from an addiction, overcoming an eating disorder, or trying to maintain an alternative diet, the holidays can prove a challenging time. Family members who don't understand your situation are bound to make things even harder. Using these tips and strategies will help you navigate the obstacles that may lie ahead this holiday season.
For the Recovering Addict
The holiday season is typically a time of indulgence; foods as well as alcohol. Even if you are not recovering from an alcohol addiction, your brain is wired to be more susceptible to addiction. This means that regardless of your previous substance issues, it is always best to avoid alcohol. The best way to ensure a stress-free holiday experience is to communicate openly with your family members. Tell them that you need to stay sober and that you need them to respect that by keeping all alcohol away from you, not offering you alcohol, and providing delicious, alcohol-free drinks such as sparkling cider and hot chocolate.
For Those Struggling with an Eating Disorder
For people working to recover from anorexia and bulimia, the prospect of eating rich, unhealthy foods can inspire severe anxiety. It can be very tempting to purge or hide away from all the foods, creating a stressful and unpleasant holiday experience. If you are in this situation, there are ways you can cope while still enjoying the festivities. Pick out your favorite foods and serve yourself only small portions throughout the get-together. Eating a small amount over a period of time is much easier to handle than sitting down to a massive dinner and eating until you feel like exploding. It's also actually better for you to eat many small meals throughout the day, meaning you can do this guilt-free. If you think a certain food such as cheesecake will make you feel overly anxious, avoid it and choose an alternative. Sticking to only the healthiest offerings is certainly never a bad thing. Just be sure you are keeping yourself at a happy, comfortable medium between hungry and full.
For Those on Alternative Diets
An alternative diet can be the result of many things including personal preference, moral code, and allergies. Regardless of the reason, it can be difficult for those of us on alternative diets to find acceptable food during the holidays. The easiest way to guarantee a delectable dish for yourself is to make it at home and bring it to the gathering. Your relatives might even like it so much they serve it themselves next year. Of course, that does limit the food aspect of holiday festivities.
Talking to the host is never a bad idea. They might be more receptive to your needs than you may think. It becomes even easier for them to accommodate you if you send some acceptable recipes their way. You don’t need the whole gathering to eat according to your diet but having a few dishes you can eat is always nice when trying to celebrate the holiday season.
The holiday season can be stressful, but if you take the time to talk to your family about your needs this holiday season, you may be able to enjoy yourself much more than you thought possible. Celebrating this season when you have limitations might be a pain but with the right accommodations and the right attitude, you won't even notice they are there.
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