The Holiday Season and Taking Care of YOU!
The holiday season is upon us, and with that you may be subjected to a whole new level of diet culture rhetoric. As we know from my blog about diet culture– it is the status quo – and therefore many folx are not even aware of the fact that they are spreading diet culture messaging. Ugh. In our office here in Denverwhere we provide mental health and nutrition counseling for people with eating disorders, disordered eating, and/or body image struggles I have printed out the Intuitive Eating Bill of Rightsso that clients can remember their rights throughout this holiday season. It is a helpful reminder of boundaries you can set to take care of yourself while celebrating with family or friends.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or any other holiday this time of year, food and food related conversation will often times take center stage. Here are three things to remember as you embark on this sometimes joyous, sometimes stressful season.
1. It is ok to feel your feelings, whatever feelings you are experiencing.
Just because holiday season is upon us, it does not mean that the struggles that come with being human go away. You are the only person who knows how you feel and what you need to take care of yourself. It is ok to be wherever you are this holiday season. You do not need to feel happy or excited or even grateful. You are allowed to be sad or lonely or flat – or literally any other emotion or set of emotions. Holiday time can bring up a lot of different feelings and you have permission to feel what you feel.
There may be pressure to show up to celebratory events in a specific way. There may be familial expectations that everyone is happy or expresses gratitude. You are allowed to opt out or to express what you are actually feeling, even if it goes against your family’s current of tradition. You are human and that does not stop just because it is a holiday.
2. You are allowed to set boundaries.
You are allowed to say no, to refrain from participating in triggering or frustrating conversations, and to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Boundaries are crucial for self-care. Boundaries may sometimes be a gentle reminder internally to yourself to breathe through a challenging interaction with a friend or family member. They may also be an assertive “no” when someone asks you if you want more turkey or wants to debate politics with you. They may also be setting a time limit for yourself on how long you will stay at the gathering you are attending. However your boundaries end up looking, know that they are important and taking care of you is the priority.
3. Attuning to your body is something only YOU can do.
You are the only one who knows what your body needs and what/how much food feels satisfying. You are allowed to choose what you want to eat and how much of it. You are also allowed to say no to certain dishes, even if your Aunt spent hours in the kitchen preparing her famous casserole. Others around you may insert their own expectations around what you should or should not be eating, and this is simply disrespectful and not something you need to take on. Take some time to honor your body and its needs and remind yourself that it is absolutely appropriate for you to follow your own internal cues related to what you want and need to eat.
It is ok to honor yourself first and take care of your needs, in whatever way you celebrate and the traditions you uphold. Heck, you can even decide to stop participating in traditions that no longer serve you if you feel. Ultimately, you have permission to take care of yourself, to celebrate in the way that feels most true for you (or not), and to say yes and no to the things that you so choose.
From all of us at Omni, we wish you a peaceful holiday season. And if your holiday is not peaceful, we wish for you the ability to set the boundaries you need to, to take care of you.