The holiday season is filled with get-togethers, candy, decorating, gift giving and even more sweets and desserts. Many believe that maintaining eating disorder recovery around this time of year is extremely tough because everything screams food. For family members, friends and loved ones of those with eating disorders, the question of gift giving can be troublesome. It may be hard to pick out a holiday gift for a loved one who is in eating disorder recovery because everything may seem like a trigger. From clothes and candy to baked goods and gym passes; many “typical” holiday gifts would be appreciated by many but can be triggering for those who are new to eating disorder recovery. Let’s look at the do’s and do-not’s of gift giving for those in eating disorder recovery.

Avoid Gifts that Can Be Triggers

Let’s first tackle what to avoid as gifts for your loved one who is overcoming an eating disorder. As a rule of thumb, it is always important to stay away from clothes because many individuals in eating disorder recovery are triggered by numbers such as clothing sizes. Another gift to stay away from giving are sweets or any type of dessert, even though these are common gifts around the holidays. Baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes, candies and cakes can be triggering for individuals in eating disorder treatment as it can result in binging, calorie counting or obsessive thoughts about food.

Ideal Gifts for a Person with an Eating Disorder

Below are some ideal gift ideas to give a loved one in eating disorder recovery for the holiday season:

A reflection journal: Journaling is a way to release feelings and emotions and is a healthy coping skill for anyone undergoing treatment for a mental health disorder, including eating disorders. There are many inspirational journals with quotes, pictures and stories that can help an individual reflect on their current state of mind.

Socks: This may seem silly but everyone always loves warm, fuzzy socks, especially around the holidays and socks are not sized. Try picking out a funny pair of socks or socks that reflect the individual even if they don’t wear them out, they are comfortable to wear around the house and can always lift emotions.

Books: Giving a book is one of the best gifts because reading can be a relaxing hobby. Try to find out what your loved one is interested in and find a book that suits their interests. Try to stay away from books that talk about food, alcohol or body image as these subjects can be triggering. You can even give a book you recently read and write a nice note on the cover page.

Handmade gifts such as candles or body scrub: Handmade gifts give a very personalized feeling because there was a lot of love and effort that went into making them. There are so many DIY crafting gift ideas that are perfect for the holiday season. Candles, homemade body scrubs, bath bombs and facemasks are just a few.

Eating Disorder Treatment Around the Holidays

We hope you can help the person in your life look forward to opening gifts that are thoughtful and respectful of their eating disorder recovery. Remember that eating disorders are especially triggering around this time of year and eating disorder treatment centers work closely with patients on short notice to provide immediate treatment, whether it is first-time treatment or a recurrent relapse. If you or a loved one is struggling with eating disorder recovery, especially during the holidays, Center for Discovery is available to help.

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