Holiday Vacation While in Eating Disorder Recovery

Whether you are planning a getaway to a warm sunny beach location, a ski vacation in the mountains or you are staying home and attending a multitude of holiday parties with friends and family, holiday vacations and breaks can be stressful. For individuals who are in eating disorder recovery, holiday vacations and gatherings can be especially difficult. However, with the proper planning and support system, individuals in eating disorder recovery can enjoy the holidays without being triggered. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the holiday season.

1. Know your triggers while on vacation in recovery

As the holidays approach, it is important to know your triggers. Triggers can differ depending on the specific person. Some triggers include being around specific foods or meals, while others include being around alcohol, engaging in certain conversations or being in large crowds of people. Before you RSVP to every holiday party or family gathering, make sure you are aware of your triggers. If you are not able to recognize your triggers then there is no way to prevent them or learn coping mechanisms to overcome them.

2. Practice your coping mechanisms and skills

Coping mechanisms for eating disorders range from practicing mindfulness to avoiding the triggering situation altogether. Some individuals may choose to engage in more therapy sessions around the holidays or join a support group while others may choose to only engage in positive conversation and avoid being around certain types of food. Practicing self-care and recognizing what works for you can help prevent fear of relapse during a holiday party of a holiday vacation.

3. Plan for your vacation

Most people spend days, weeks or even months planning their vacation. There are so many decisions to make, such as what to wear, which activities to do, which restaurants to visit and how much money to spend. Individuals in eating disorder recovery need to be even more vigilant about vacation planning because they are at an increased risk of relapse if they encounter unexpected triggers on their vacation.

  • Take comfortable clothes that you can easily move in and ask a trusted friend to help you if you feel anxious about this.
  • Plan which activities you will be doing on your vacation and keep in mind any activities that may be triggering.
  • Bring a journal so you can write down your anxious thought and feelings during your trip.
  • Seek out any support groups in the area you will be traveling to in case you feel triggered while you are there.
  • Make a list of which foods to avoid and plan out your meals accordingly.
  • Avoid situations that may be triggering for you such as being around others in minimal clothing in locations such as the spa, pool or beach. This is especially important if you are actively struggling with body dysmorphia or body positivity issues.
  • Take various mediums such as your art supplies, camera, yoga mat or other essentials to help you stay on a routine or give you another level of coping tools.

While planning your holiday vacation in recovery can be stressful, remember that you have options and resources available to help you manage and cope with various events and situations.

We’re Here For You

If you or someone you know needs support around the holidays, Center for Discovery can help. Center for Discovery’s treatment centers specialize in treatment for eating disorders, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment with unique treatment programs for every individual to get on their way to eating disorder recovery. For more information, resources or to consult with one of our specialists, contact us at

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