Make it work for you

I know for a lot of people Christmas can be a really difficult time so my first bit of advice is to make it work for you. Technically it’s just another day in the calendar year so if food or any other reason has made it difficult be sure to find something you can do to make yourself feel as happy and comfortable as possible.

Maybe that’s a walk, a meditation to start the day or pre warning family about things they can do to make you feel more at ease, particularly around food. Whatever it is, it’s your day as much as anyone else’s and it’s ok to call on support systems or any other practices that help.

 

You don’t have to stuff yourself silly!

Food is a huge part of the Christmas day extravaganza and for most of us 5pm is a nauseating time. We’re accustomed to setting ourselves rigid rules around foods and labelling things “good” or “bad”. When Christmas day comes along it’s like a day off – no wonder we go absolutely mad and then vow to start a new diet or fitness regime in the New Year.

Yet rigid rules themselves are what cause us to feel out of control around food. If nothing was off limits or considered “naughty” throughout the year, we’d be far less likely to get overexcited and finish the whole tin of something or other before denying ourselves again for the year.

Of course it’s ok to go to town on Christmas day, I definitely plan on it. But remember everything is still on limits the next day and so forth. Eat slowly and intentionally and enjoy every mouthful safe in the knowledge that today is not the only day you will give yourself full permission to eat whatever it is you want to eat.

 

Booze

If drinking makes you feel anxious or out of control there is absolutely no shame in declining. It’s about what makes you feel comfortable and happiest. Regardless make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.

 

Banish Guilt

Guilt has no place at the Christmas table! You do not ever have to feel guilty about eating. Food fuels your body and yes Hippocrates, it can be medicine. But food is also to be enjoyed, it’s what brings us together and it’s ok if you happen to overdo it – I do it often. If you do start to feel the guilt creep in, I recommend just taking 5 and allowing that guilt to drift away from you. I find it helpful to shut my eyes and focus on surrendering any guilt in the knowledge that I am allowed to eat and to enjoy myself.

 

Don’t take any shit from relatives

We all love our families dearly – most of the time. However, your family has no rights to comment on your body or your food. If conversation drifts towards weight gently steer any beloved aunts and uncles back to something a little more interesting. If you’re worried about any comments being elicited from any particularly opinionated memeber’s of the family, perhaps warn someone in advance to let them know and avoid taking chances entirely. You are worth far more than your physical appearance – remember that.

 

Boxing Day

Boxing day in someways can be the hardest. You may feel like you’ve eaten too much and drunk paranoia can set in. Christmas day is also tiring and so the thought of more family and another big meal may not be at the top of your list.

Try and maintain some perspective. Christmas is now in the past so whatever it was try your best to let it go, you don’t need to carry any negativity with you. I recommend a breakfast rich in B vitamins, which are often depleted during drinking. Then avoid resolving to smash the gym or planning a healthy eating plan for the upcoming week. As soon as we get into restrictive language and dichotomizing between what is and isn’t allowed, we embark on a troublesome path.

New rules: eat what you feel like and maybe get some movement in if you want to, like a walk with family and friends. Be sure to also enjoy some downtime after what can be quite a tiring few days.  Most importantly if you are struggling with food, remember that you still need to eat.

 

Extra Help

If you do need extra support on Christmas Day, Beat’s helpline is open normal hours on the 24th and from 6pm-10pm on Christmas day. I want to stress that I really admire those who reach out for help if they need it and it shows a lot of strength and bravely. If you do need some extra help it’s ok to ask.

 

Feature Image by @meandmyedart

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