Please be especially caring of yourself these immediate days after Christmas. Your emotional momentum culminated in the day that passed. Now you are in a different emotional space. Your psychological and emotional energy wave crashed into the reality of Christmas Day. The fall out is now.
What’s happening? If you had a traditional family Christmas at a Christmas decorated home you are surrounded by left over turkey and Christmas treats, candies, baked goods and candy canes. The house may be in a clutter of uproar with wrapping paper scattered under the tree, toys, scarves, books, puzzles, games, hats and gloves, art and technology strewed or in neat piles in the living room. You may be in a tidier situation where the wrapping paper got thrown out, the ribbons saved for another day, and food wrapped and placed nicely in the refrigerator and cabinets. Perhaps many of the presents are close to their new owners and out of sight.
Risks and Vulnerabilities in Lack of Structure Either way, the ordinary structure of a day is gone. The structure of Christmas day is gone. You have no routine, no ordinary expectation for how to function this day after Christmas. You and everyone else are tired and in mild shock. No one would notice or question you if you woke up and snacked on a chocolate Santa or sucked a candy cane or reached into the fridge for some stuffing to eat with your morning coffee. Please hold off and force yourself to make a nice normal breakfast.
Coping Well It’s understandable to feel anxious and at odds with yourself as you move about not really knowing what to do with yourself amid the disruption. Please go to a normal non holiday routine. Write in your journal. Do some breathing exercises or yoga poses. Take the dog for a walk. Throughout the day the other people around you will also be in shock. Yes, even if they don’t have an eating disorder, the aftermath of Christmas can leave so called normal people with an emotional hang over. Adults and children will likely be somewhat disoriented. And they are your environment. Please recognize that the disorientation around you can trigger your eating disorder. You can feel insecure, ill at ease, and unsure of where to focus your attention or energy. Please don’t act out. Hold on to your stability, however fragile. Give yourself reasonable and grounding tasks. Wherever you are, you will see signs of disruption that you can address. Pick up some clutter. Wash some dishes. Organize towels in a bathroom. Wipe down the stove. Pick up fallen ornaments. Bring in the paper. Set the table for everyone’s breakfast. And yes, take the dog for a walk.
Benefits of Grounding Yourself These are simple but necessary ways to ground yourself in your own reality. This gives you the stability you need to move through the day well. You can even have opportunities to feel happy and playful with others. Eating gives you a task. Eating puts weight inside you that feels grounding. Eating numbs your anxiety. You can find other ways to help you get through the disequilibrium of the days after Christmas. You can use the challenges of each day to reinforce your eating disorder recovery.