It’s officially the festive season and no matter where you are in life – at school, university, home or at work – you are most likely to find yourself involved in some form of festive celebration. In this series “I’m Recovering This Christmas”, we’re sharing our thoughts and tips to keep your recovery the priority this winter.

This is less a blog post about gifts and more a blog post about how you feel – about yourself. Why? Because underneath the experience of receiving gifts is the belief that you are worthy of receiving those gifts – and therefore worthy of receiving a demonstration of someone’s care and appreciation of you. Alongside this, the act of giving involves demonstrating how you feel about others and opening yourself up to the connection that comes with that.

People in recovery from eating disorders often struggle to navigate relationships as their eating disorder forms a seemingly “protective” barrier between them and the outside world. Individuals may feel significant anxiety when someone appears to be getting close as the eating disorder’s control is seemingly threatened. If this rings true to your experience, here’s a list of things to remember as the festive season draws near and presents may be on the horizon…

You deserve to be given gifts, in the same way that you deserve to be loved

Giving gifts at Christmas is a way of demonstrating love and care for one another. We know how often people with eating disorders struggle to feel love for themselves and therefore struggle to feel worthy of receiving gifts. However, just because you struggle with this does not mean that others don’t feel that way towards you. You are deserving of their love, you are worthy of gifts (maybe you’ll just have to trust us on this).

People don’t just value you for the gifts you give them – they value you for who you are

Speaking to our Occupational Therapist, Kendra, she said that often people with eating disorders don’t struggle as much with the act of giving gifts to others. Similar to our point above, remember that people value you for who you are – not for the gifts that you give them.

There will come a time when you can truly join in

Christmas can be particularly difficult if you struggle to feel the joy that you perceive others to be feeling around you. Remember, recovery is a journey and you can only expect so much from yourself as you take it day by day, step by step. The most important thing is that you do what’s right for your recovery. The healing will come in time and at a gradual pace that’s in line with your story and path. One day, you’ll catch yourself and remember just how far you’ve come. Keep affirming to yourself that your recovery is possible.

Read the rest of our Christmas series:

Do you have any questions? Get in touch with us!