National Eating Disorders Association

How to Find Help During the Holidays

Ariel Beccia

While it feels like we were just relishing the start of fall, those telltale signs – red coffee cups, twinkling lights – signify yet another shift: the holidays are here. This time can be full of challenges for those struggling with an eating disorder: food-focused get-togethers, routine social gatherings, and unpredictable schedules. It is perfectly normal for all of us to feel extra stressed-out during this time of year. 

That being said, there are many resources available should you or a loved one need help this season. Even if you don’t have an eating disorder, these tools are a great way to find the support you need in order to manage the holidays in a healthy way. 

1. NEDA Helpline 

If you are ever in need of immediate support, the NEDA Helpline (800-931-2237) has volunteers on call Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Whether you want to talk through a difficult moment or learn about potential treatment options, Helpline volunteers have been professionally trained and are ready to provide you with the help you need.  

2. Crisis Text Line & Click-to-Chat

NEDA offers other ways of connecting with professionals. If you would rather not use the phone, Click-to-Chat connects you with Helpline volunteers through instant messaging. For 24/7 crisis support, texting “NEDA” to 741741 will connect you with a trained volunteer at the Crisis Text Line. 

3. The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is an amazing organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. You can connect with a trained counselor through a variety of social platforms, including the Trevor Lifeline (866-488-7386), TrevorChat, TrevorText, TrevorSpace, and Trevor Support Center. 

4. Your Support Network

This can mean many things: your medical team, your therapist, your family, a teacher, or a friend. Challenging situations are always easier to handle when you have an ally by your side. Make a list of people whom you can reach out to this season, and have a conversation with at least one of them. Talk about concerns you have, discuss what you find triggering, or simply enjoy a rejuvenating conversation with a loved one. Having these little moments of connection throughout the season are invaluable in letting you know that you are never alone. 

5. Your Conscience 

This is important. You know those hunches you get sometimes, that “gut feeling” about whatever it is you’re about to do, or thinking about doing? Listen to it. Only you can know what is best for you. Maybe deep down, you don’t want to go to yet another holiday party, and that’s OK. Following your intuition is a form of self-care because it validates your wants and needs. So go ahead and stay home from the party (or go, if that’s your wish!) and know that this is truly an act of self-love. 

Remember, the holidays are just like any other day – there is no pressure to make any one “perfect” or to meet someone else’s expectation of what the day should be. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself first and foremost. Use these tools, or any others that you know of, to make these weeks more manageable and enjoyable!