National Eating Disorders Association
Blog

5 Recovery Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Lauren Smolar, Helpline Director

We hope you and your loved ones have a very happy holiday, filled with gratitude, warmth and recovery!

Thanksgiving can be stressful enough, even if you're not struggling with an eating disorder. And since this holiday is centered around food, it can be that much more challenging. Here are our favorite tips to help make this holiday run a little smoother!

1. Make a plan

Avoiding food situations is pretty impossible this time of year, but it’s also not mandatory. Talk with your treatment team about what is smart for YOU and make a plan for how to handle upcoming plans. This might mean giving yourself certain new challenges or it might mean finding alternative plans. Decide with the help of professionals and your support team what you can handle and create a backup plan. Or two.

(Don’t have a team? Contact the NEDA Helpline at 800.931.2237 or myneda.org/helplinechat to find treatment options in your area.)

2. Choose a buddy

Find someone who can help you through upcoming situations and ask them to be your support buddy. This buddy might help you with a goal you’ve set for yourself, or s/he might simply check in to see how you are doing throughout the day. This person could be someone who has gone through recovery themself, or just a really excellent cheerleader for you! What’s important is that they will help you put your needs first, and will be your ally in making it through the day.

3. Wear something comfortable

How you look should not be something you stress out about. Make sure that you feel comfortable in your attire so you can focus on the event and minimize the eating disorder focusing on you!

4. Decide it’s okay to change plans

Remember that plan in #1? Make a backup plan that says you can change everything. Thanksgiving will be here again in a year, and you can start over then! If plans don’t work out next year, you have a whole year to work through the challenges you encounter now.  

5. Don’t forget to connect with others

This holiday is all about being thankful for what you have and spending time with loved ones. Take this opportunity to be thankful for the opportunities you have had this year. This is a great time to reflect on your plan to recognize the steps forward you have taken--big or small. Acknowledge your loved ones who have helped you get where you are, and who will help you move forward!

 

Here are a few additional holiday resources that might help: