The holiday season is upon us and there is a lot going on. It seems there are holiday parties every weekend. The celebrating is fun and I hope you have fun, but celebrating usually involves food and drink.

For those of you struggling with disordered eating this can cause a lot to stress. These holiday celebrations can trigger overeating. It can also cause you to feel anxious, stress, and overwhelmed. Here are some tips to survive the holiday parties.

  1. Set a specified amount of time to stay at the party. Agree to go to the party for a certain amount of time, say 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours. This will help you feel like you went to say “Hi” and participated.
  2. Give an excuse for why you are leaving. You do not owe anyone an explanation but it can help your anxiety if you provide an excuse. Say you have to let the dogs out or that you have to let the babysitter go home.
  3. Holiday parties can trigger binge eating. This will cause guilt and shame. Avoid gathering in the kitchen or around the food. Join a group on the comfy couches or ask to move to the living room. You want to not surround yourself with food.
  4. Keep your hands busy. Hold a drink and your cellphone. You can say you have your phone handy so you can capture pictures at the party.
  5. If you feel like you have binged or you feel anxious, excuse yourself to a private room in the party. Give yourself a moment to relax your body with a few deep breaths.
  6. Remember you have the right to choose to stay at the party or you can choose to leave.

There is no shame for leaving a party. You have the right to feel comfortable and if you are no longer comfortable at the party you can leave. Go home and take care of yourself and feel proud that you were able to attend the party.

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Take care and see you all next time!

* Dr. Stephanie Waitt, LPC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Sherman, Texas. Stephanie works with young and successful women to help restore balance and peace. She specializes in working with individuals with eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, and depression.