Eating Disorders and Trauma: Holiday Coping Skills

Eating Disorders and Trauma: Holiday Coping Skills

The holiday season can flare up remembrance of past trauma. Perhaps it is reminders of loved ones who have created the trauma, being around non-supportive folks or maybe even how traumatic experiences occurred right around the holidays. So how then, can we wrap up trauma with a pretty little bow? Being able to wrap up or contain our trauma from affecting our daily lives is a difficult task. Here are a few ideas for how to start the process: Grounding Coping Toolbox Self-Care Grounding is a way to put you back in the present moment. This tool is helpful when experiencing flashbacks, if you start to drift off or disassociate, and to serve as a reminder that you are safe in this exact moment. To “ground” yourself, you can begin by using your five senses (i.e. sight, touch, smell, taste, hear). Using these senses, you are not only able to slow down your racing thoughts but also become reconnected with your body. When you are not grounded, the traumatic event(s) can hijack your thoughts, emotions and body. You are taken right back to that moment in time where you felt scared, powerless or stuck. Another method to grounding can be as simple as tapping your fingers on your knees or shoulders and saying “In this moment, I am safe.” A coping toolbox can also be extremely helpful to ground you and to create calm in a time of distress. Your tools can help with breathing, the release of the physiological parts of trauma and help you outside of traditional therapy sessions. Bubbles: Target and the dollar store have small...
Eating Disorders Help for the Holidays

Eating Disorders Help for the Holidays

‘Tis the season – for family gatherings, Holiday parties… and lots of food. It can be enough of a challenge to stay on course with your eating disorder recovery in your day-to-day life. It’s even more challenging when you’re triggered by your Aunt Mary’s comments about your weight, or your Grandmother’s pumpkin pie. Here are a few strategies for eating disorders help for the holidays: Know Your Triggers – Identify the people, places and events that are the most challenging for you to deal with. By acknowledging that your Aunt Mary always makes a comment about your weight, you can actually be less triggered when she makes a comment this year. She might say, “You look so good – how much weight have you lost?” Or, “What happened – you gained so much weight since the last time I saw you!” Knowing that she will make some kind of comment, you can be prepared and therefore less triggered. Similarly, knowing that you are going to a family function where you will encounter foods which can trigger your eating disorder behaviors, you can diffuse the power of the trigger simply by being aware of it. You know that your Grandmother will bring pumpkin pie – and you also know that she will push you to have a piece. You also know that she’ll give you a “sad look” if you decline to have a piece, and she’ll push you to have seconds if you agree to have one. Have a Plan to Deal with Your Triggers – After you have identified some of the main triggers you might encounter, come up with specific action steps for each. When...