Easter is here. So much chocolate, so much food, and of course… family.
Easter (and other family gatherings) is inherently stressful, but whether you have an eating disorder or are in recovery for one, it can add that extra bit of anxiety that makes it that much more difficult!
First and foremost, take care of yourself! You are priority numero uno. Here are some tips about getting through the Easter long weekend, dealing with yourself, family and food.
If you’re really unsure about how to handle the upcoming day, talk to your therapist. Plan for any potential situations, and try to continue as normal. Some techniques you and your therapist might work on are:
- Making a plan
- Mindful eating
- Any emergency anxiety relieving techniques (eg. Progressive muscle relaxation).
But it is 150% okay if you go a little off course! Just get back on track when you realise you’ve lost your footing.
Other things that might give you that little extra boost over this weekend:
Dress to impress – yourself!
Wear what makes you feel good, don’t worry too much about everyone else’s dress code. This can really make a difference.
Before or after (or both!) family events, give yourself a little treat that isn’t related to food or your body. Maybe it’s watching your favourite movie for the 1000th time, or maybe it’s chatting to your best friend. Something that makes you feel good!
It is easiest to tackle family time if your family are already aware of your situation. Tell them beforehand that you don’t want to talk about your food intake, your appearance – regardless if it’s positive or negative, etc. However, if you’re not comfortable disclosing your status to your family or if that one uncle/cousin/grandparent doesn’t get the memo, there are other ways to deal with any potentially stressful conversations.
You know your family, so feel the room, if you notice the conversation is heading a certain direction, just excuse yourself to the bathroom, or grab a drink from the kitchen or something to that effect where you can get out of there. If someone says something out of the blue that you’re really not comfortable with just be honest and say ‘I don’t really want to talk about that’. Most of the time people will realise they crossed a line and will back off and move on, if they don’t, just say it again. Sure it might be awkward for a minute or two after, but honestly what are family gatherings if not a hotbed for awkward moments (I know mine are!).
A long weekend throws out your routine. No work on Friday or Monday when you normally would, change in sleeping patterns, more time relaxing on the couch with your pantry sitting only 5 metres away? Try to head to bed, and get up at your regular times, and just try to stick to your normal schedule of food.
Events like these will always have WAY too much food. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it or count every calorie you do eat. Keep to your regular portion sizes and make healthy choices as much as you can. It is absolutely okay to have a few foods you wouldn’t normally. Just remember that it’s a special event. It doesn’t mean when you get home you have to compensate in some way or that the plan you’re on has been ruined, so what’s the point of sticking to it? Get back on track as soon as you step out the door. Most people are on some sort of diet and are conscious about what they eat. They just go back to their regular schedule when the event is over.
Overall, the most important thing to remember is that this is one weekend out of the year, and it really flies by. If you’re experiencing distress schedule an appointment with your mental health professional as soon as you can.
If you have been fasting for Easter, or want to in the future here are some blogs about getting through it without triggering a relapse.
Facing lent recovering from anorexia
Fasting lent and eating disorders
If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder, one of our Clinical Psychologists can help! Feel free to give us a call or book through our website here.