Let’s be real: the holidays can be the worst. From relentless Love Actually marathons, to dreaded family political debates, to more food than you can food a food at…it’s basically a bulimic’s nightmare.
So, we’ve compiled some helpful tips to help you bad-ass recovering folks survive:
1. Get Handsy, Baby
Hand activities are key to keeping your anxiety in check. Knitting, coloring books, play-dough, journaling, escaping to your childhood bedroom for half an hour with a phone in your hand and a joyful glint in your eye – whatever it is, keeping your hands busy will help you focus your anxiety and ward off those nagging urges to indulge your ED behaviors.
Also, if you want to make your family feel particularly uncomfortable, we recommend Relax Already and Get Sexy.
2. Plan Accordingly. Also, Talk to Your Grandma!
Going to grandma’s for dinner? Ask her what she’s serving. Well, first, ask her how she is and like, you know, be a human being about it – she’s seen more shit than you can imagine, survived it and still has the energy to make you dinner, stop being a dick. Then, ask her what she’s serving. Work with your nutritionist (oh, get a nutritionist. If you can’t afford one, write your congressperson – our health care system is wack, man.) to make a plan-of-attack ahead of time, so you’re not caught off-guard by the extra vat of cheesy potatoes that will be screaming your name into the great beyond until your ears bleed.
3. Make Everyone Uncomfortable By Demanding Things
The fact is, your family generally wants you to be happy. And if you’ve confided in them about your ED, they probably want to help you manage it, but might not know where to start. Communicate with them and tell them what they can do. Need the pie to be put away after enjoying dessert? Ask. Or do it yourself. Need scales in the house tucked away (or taken to a nearby volcano and sacrificed to the Fire God?) Ask. Or do it yourself. There are volcanoes everywhere.
You know what triggers you, so ask for what you need. Sometimes asking via text or email is easier than doing so in-person, but either way, do it. Right now. Double-dog dare you. That’s still a thing, right?
4. Set Boundaries Like You’re the United States in the Year That State Boundaries Were Set (What year was that exactly?)
Holiday events can last as long or as short as you want them to. If you need to leave early to stay safe, leave. It’s totally okay. If you have a family confidant you can talk to, let them know this might be happening. If your family doesn’t respect your needs, that’s on them. They can always have another child – it’s pretty easy. Point is, you do you. Go Netflix and chill. Or, do the aforementioned phone-grabbing-eye-twinkle thing (if you weren’t clear, that was a euphemism for masturbation).
5. Re-Direct Body Talk Like a Body Talk Re-Directing Ninja
What, Auntie Jo? You’re trying a new diet? How interesting! That reminds me of literally anything else other than diets!
People love to talk about their bodies. And their cleanses. And their blahblahblah… It’s boring and it’s stupid and how old are we that our bodies, which we’ve had for quite some time now, are still so goddamn fascinating?! If it happens around you, change the subject. Or moonwalk away from that shit. Do. Not. Engage. Also, learn to moonwalk, because, cool, right?!
6. Treat Yo’Self
Slippers? Wear them constantly. Make it weird. Wear anything that makes you feel GOOD. Wrap yourself in a blanket during Christmas dinner. Take a bubble bath in the afternoon. Buy yourself a fancy massage. Get a mani/pedi, especially if you’re a dude. That shit feels great, and you fucking deserve it.
7. Schedule Things Like You’re Motherfucking Siri
Go ice skating, see a holiday light tour, go to the theater, watch that Love Actually marathon and Facebook about it, volunteer. Do anything that gets you out of the house and out of your head. There are plenty of ways to socialize and enjoy the season that aren’t food-centric. Do those. They’re way more interesting anyway. Unless you suck at ice-skating. In that case, your whole family will laugh at you and call you Bambi and you’ll just want to survive long enough never to talk to any of them ever again. Not that this happened to us or anything…
8. Pet a Dog Like It’s the Last Dog You Pet
It’s not possible to be sad while petting a dog. They’ve got those eyes, you know? And they’re all like, wagwagwag, I’m so happy and totally immune to your shitty people problems I just want love, love me, love me. I mean, it’s almost unfair how good dogs are for helping us when times are hard. So, go pet a dog. Or adopt a dog. Or, if you can’t adopt one, then… I don’t believe you, just adopt a fucking dog.
Here’s a picture of one (that may or may not belong to one of the writers) in case you forgot what they look like. You’re welcome.
9. Watch Binge and Laugh Like You’ve Never Laughed Before
The writers of this article are, coincidentally, the writers of a Pilot called Binge. It is inspired by Angela Gulner’s (the co-writer/lead actress) 10 year battle with bulimia (I know how this shit feels, man). It’s funny. It’s honest and, we hope, it’ll make you feel much less alone.
You can see it here:
We love you, take care of yourself… and learn to moonwalk.