Though the holidays are traditionally thought of as a happy time of year, they pose challenges for many people. From having to see family that you don’t get along with to being reminded of negative childhood memories, the holidays can bring up issues for anyone.

Those recovering from disordered eating habits may find the holidays especially difficult to navigate, as so many holiday celebrations revolve around food. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, attending events like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner can leave those with disordered eating habits “petrified” for this reason, with many affected folks preferring to isolate themselves than socialize.

It’s understandable to feel fear at the prospect of attending events during the holidays if you’re healing your relationship with food. But you don’t have to deny yourself the chance to be part of the festivities if you would like to join in. Along with using the mental health resources available to you, there are a few strategies you can employ during the holidays to look after yourself and stay on track with your recovery.

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