Recovery Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season (a Guest Post)

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Today I’m happy to share some wonderful advice to help you cope with the (ridiculously food-intensive) holiday season. Our guest, the lovely Caralyn, blogs about her recovery from anorexia at BeautyBeyondBones.

The insights she shares here would benefit anyone who will be interacting with family and food over Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., whether you suffer from an eating disorder or perhaps know someone who struggles with food.

You can visit her blog at the link above, or find her on Facebook by clicking here.

The following post first appeared on the blog “Beauty Beyond Bones” on November 2, 2017.

Thanks for reading,

….Take it away, Caralyn!

Well, here we are. November 2. We’ve officially entered…the Holiday Season.

I swear, the Trick or Treaters hadn’t even left the driveway before the first Christmas commercial came on TV.

What’s the heck?! Eager much??

But anyways. If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that for someone in ED recovery, navigating Thanksgiving and Christmas, and all the festivities and parties that go with it, can be daunting. Staying strong in your eating disorder recovery can be a real test of strength.

I have such vivid memories of the anxiety I felt, heading into a season where everything was about food, and sharing meals and holiday parties.

Back when I was battling anorexia, I used to dread this time of year.

If one more person offers me a friggin Christmas cookie or candy cane, I’m going to bust a cap!!

But now, being in my tenth year of recovery, I have come to embrace this season. And it truly is my favorite time of year, again.

It has taken me a long time to get to where I am, and I have certainly learned a lot along the way.

So here are some tips for those navigating recovery, and also for loved ones, to get a glimpse into what your dear one is going through.

1) Realize that people are going to say dumb things.

Here’s the thing: an eating disorder is difficult to navigate to all parties involved. And the fact is, sometimes, well meaning relatives or adults can say some pretty stupid things. And the thing about recovery from anorexia is that, yes – your body changes. Your progress is visible to people. And that’s a good thing! But not everyone knows how to react… tactfully. I remember going to a doctor’s appointment right after I got home from inpatient, and my male GI doc goes, “Wow, looks like you found McDonald’s!”


People are going to say dumb things. And just let it roll off you. You’re beautiful. You’re healthy. And you’re reclaiming your life.

2) Give yourself permission to take a breather.

There can be a lot of stress and togetherness during the holidays. And sometimes, you just need to take a minute to yourself. And that’s okay. Know your limits. If you feel like, “I can’t take another minute of Aunt Ruth talking about how relieved she is that I’m doing better” just politely excuse yourself, find a quiet corner of the house, or step outside, and take a little break. Deep breath. I am loved. I am worthy. Jesus, be with me right now.

3) It’s just a cookie.

Thanksgiving and Christmas time are full of delicious goodies. That’s the long and short of it. Pumpkin spice lattes, Christmas cookies, eggnog, hot chocolate. For someone in recovery from an eating disorder, thinking about consuming those things makes them go into a cold sweat. But you know what? They’re delicious. And they’re not going to hurt you. Having a cookie or a treat in moderation is part of a healthy diet. Enjoy it! Partake in the festivities! You’re worth it.

4) The Power of Positive Thinking.

Sometimes, thinking about going to a party can bring on the anxiety. Before hand, close your eyes and envision yourself having a blast. You’re talking, dancing, wearing something that makes you feel confident, and truly enjoying yourself. Embody that girl of your dreams! Channel her spirit!

5) Have a support person.

Sometimes it can help to have a confidant at the party, with whom you can share your trepidations. Just give them a heads up that you could need a little extra support at the outing. Knowing that someone is on the same page and knows what you’re going through goes a long way.

6) Remember the reason for the season.

Focus on the people you love. The less you’re thinking about yourself, the more you will enjoy the best season of the year. Honestly, at the end of the day, people love you for who you are. Not what you look like. Not what you’re wearing. Not how you perceive your body to be. People love you for you. Love them back.

7) Pray your way through it.

Finally, there really is power in prayer. Sharing with Jesus your fears and anxieties and allowing Him to love you is the best thing you can do to navigate a difficult situation. Accept His peace. And remember that your worth comes from Him.

This is the best season of the year, and remember that you’re alive to enjoy it. Keep that in perspective. You’ve chosen life. You’ve reclaimed your health. You’ve won the battle, and sadly, not everyone does. Remember how blessed you are.

You survived. Celebrate that.

For more recovery advice, and a guided recovery companion journal, you can order my book, Bloom: A Journal by BeautyBeyondBones by clicking on the link below.

Click here to order your copy!


A big thank you to my sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.

For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! You make this blog possible 🙂

The post Recovery Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season appeared first on BeautyBeyondBones.

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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6 Responses to Recovery Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season (a Guest Post)

  1. “It’s just a cookie” is just the beginning of the slippery slope…for us fat folks, too. Sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeannine Johnson says:

    Thanks for sharing, Lots of good advice about the Blessings and just remembering the reason for the the season. How blessed we are.


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