December is a big month. It is filled with so much joy and celebration, often cozy evenings and fun filled festive events. It is also a month that can bring up a lot. It is difficult to carry so many feelings at once and to often feel torn between feeling excited about what the season brings while also feeling overwhelmed by what it can bring up for you in your recovery journey. This season is often heavily focused on food, holiday parties, seasonal baked goods, the gift baskets that repeatedly arrive at the office etc. Add on top of that, the family time that can often overwhelm us, or the loneliness that can arise if we aren’t able to go home for the holidays.
As the season begins to kick into high gear I want to remind you of a few important pieces that will hopefully make it more merry than miserable:
- Give Yourself Permission To Say No To The Things That Don’t Matter And Challenge Yourself To Say Yes To The Things That Do. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your office gets the best of you and your loved ones get whatever is left over? Often we create expectations for ourselves to show up for people that in the grand scheme don’t actually mean the most to us. We can’t do it all. We want to. We often tell ourselves we have But the truth is we can’t – at least not without there being a cost associated with it (a rise in behaviors, more self harm or self loathing etc.) Make this year the year that you allow yourself to say no to the things that don’t have great significance to you and yes to the things that do. Perhaps this is the office staff party, or maybe it the large family dinner that lasts all day and all night. Whatever it is, it is absolutely your right to choose you first, in fact, doing so may actually be what prevents you from engaging in the behaviors that harm you.
- There Will Be Successes And There Will Be Struggles: Before the holidays even begin people usually create a whole list of goals or rules they expect themselves to follow. My recommendation in a lot of ways is to set them aside and realize that if you take the time to honor whatever is real for you and whatever you really need, you will get far more out of the holidays than the rules could ever give you. You don’t need to be perfect over the holidays – meaning, you don’t have to avoid all of your favorite foods in fear nor do you have to expect yourself to eat Christmas dinner with ease. Eating disorders control so many different parts of your wellbeing. Instead of focusing on how you can beat it over the holidays focus on what you want to get out of this month instead. You won’t be perfect, there will be successes and there will be struggles, that is a part of life, but if you focus on what you would like to feel like this month and carve out moments to create that feeling, the month will feel healthier and happier at the end of it.
- Set Some Self Care Time Aside Amidst The Busyness: while we often think of the holidays as a time to relax and cozy up by a fire, most of us spend the majority of the month running around trying to tackle our extended holiday to-do list. Burnout is a really common thing affecting so many people these days. With the year wrapping up, it is not uncommon for people to slide into the holidays feel exhausted and overwhelmed. I would highly encourage you to spend some time scheduling in some extra self-care.
You have the capacity to make this month what you want it to be. You are strong, capable and absolutely able to maintain your recovery or keep moving forward during the holidays. Be good to yourself to this month and enjoy the warmth of the season.