How to Navigate the Holidays Anxiety Free

Warm and cozy hot chocolate for an anxiety free holiday season

If you’ve ever had issues with food then you know this time of year can be a tricky one. Fun?? Yes! So much YESSS! But also very very tricky too. Between all the family gatherings, holiday parties, cookies exchanges and heck even just logging on to social media these days, it’s all going to center around one thing; food.

For those of you that don’t know my story, I’ve struggled with an eating disorder in the past. And while I like to say that I’ve recovered from that phase (for the most part), I’m still well aware that I have major repercussions from it. And that’s never more apparent to me than during the holidays. BUT the difference now is that I am determined more than ever to NOT let it steal my joy! And you shouldn’t either! So I’ve written down a few simple tips and tricks that seem to work for me and hopefully you can find a few that work for you too!

11 Ways to Navigate the Holidays

  1. Know your triggers: This is the most important one in my opinion. Mainly because everyone’s triggers are completely different. For example, one of mine is eating out consecutive days in a row too often. I know it’s completely irrational and at the same time it still makes me feel a little uncomfortable every now and then. However, when I know a situation like that might be coming up, I’m able to mentally prepare for it so I can squash those negative thoughts as soon as they pop up. (Because hello, going out is fun and the food is always super delicious!) My advice is to just be aware of the situation you’re in when these negative thoughts show up. That way when you know the same situation is coming up again, you’ll be much more prepared to handle it positively.
  2. Stay active: Whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour, just try to do something active every day. You could go for a walk or do some squats while watching tv, but just do something to get those endorphins going!
  3. Get excited! I mean, it is holiday party season people! Try something you’ve never tried before. Spend an entire day baking everything you have on that Pinterest dessert board of yours. Or even go out to eat at the swanky new restaurant all your coworkers have been raving about. Just do something to make food fun!
  4. Actually EAT during the day of your holiday event! (Yes you read that right.) We’ve all been there though right?? We have some holiday party on Saturday night so we vow to ourselves to “be good” all day Saturday so we can “eat whatever we want” at the party… And then what happens? We overeat…because we’ve basically been starving ourselves all day long and then all those terrible negative thoughts start rolling in… Sound familiar? But believe it or not, once I actually started eating like it was any other day, I found myself not overindulging at every party I went to. Instead, I was able to have what I wanted and moved on. AND NO NEGATIVE THOUGHTS THE MORNING AFTER!
  5. Decide which food items you really want and let yourself have them. I am a huge believer that you should never deprive yourself when it comes to the foods that you love. (Trust me, if you try to cut them out cold turkey because they’re “bad for you”, then that’s all you’re going to be thinking about!) Instead, have that chocolate chip cookie or piece of fudge! Start with one piece, savor it and then see if your craving is satisfied.
  6. That being said, IT’S OK TO SAY NO to the foods that you don’t want too! Never feel bad or feel like you always have to eat something just because Karen or Kim are having it too. If you don’t like donuts and everyone else in the office is eating them, who’s says you have to have one too? I know it’s going to feel weird and you might have to answer a lot of questions about it, but the trade off is so much more worth it in the end. You won’t be constantly thinking about it the rest of the day, you won’t be feeling guilty or feel like you failed or any of the other millions of things that could be going through your mind. It’s ok to say no if you really don’t want to eat it!
  7. Focus on the people. When you’re at an event instead of being fixated on the food being served, immerse yourself in conversation. Find someone you haven’t talked to in a while and ask them all about what they’re doing now. (Seriously, people love to talk about themselves so I’m sure the conversation will last quite a while. 😉 )
  8. Offer to bring an appetizer or side dish. If the menu really is something that you’re worried about at a holiday party, ask if you can bring something. Then make sure to bring a dish that you actually want to eat. That way you at least have one food item that you can count on being satisfied with.
  9. Pray. I know some of you may not be religious and that’s totally ok! If that’s you, then you can overlook this one. But for me, I can’t even begin to tell you how much praying has helped me in times of trouble. It’s just such a sense of security knowing that the Lord has our back and He’ll never put us through anything that we can’t handle. Some of my favorite quotes when going through hard times are below:
    • “The Lord gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.”
    • “If He brought you to it then He’ll bring you through it.”
    • Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
  10. Find an “accountability partner”. Not necessarily someone to keep you accountable for “being good”, but more of someone that you can openly talk to about the thoughts going through your head. This should be someone that you feel close to, that won’t judge you and is really just there to listen to you talk. And then tell this person EVERYTHING! Every little weird thought you have, everything you’re struggling with, you name it…tell them! Because once you say your fears out loud, they always seem to loose their merit. And you’ll soon realize how silly they actually are.
  11. Remember this is only once a year! Ok so you overindulged a little bit this year… Or might have had one too many drinks at that mixer last night… Point being, you’re human. You’re not perfect and it’s ok. One (or a handful) of nights is not going to “undo” an entire year’s worth of progress. Give yourself some grace loves!

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this and found some of these tips useful! I’d love to hear any feedback you have, or even let know if there’s a tip that works for you that I missed too!

Have the most amazing day loves and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 🙂

One Comment

  1. Hi ALisha! Thank you so much and it was so great meeting you too! I hope we stay connected. Let me know what you end up doing in fashion! 🙂

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