In the run-up to Christmas, there is a lot to juggle. The gifts we need to buy, the plans we have to make to see loved ones, how we might manage disruptions to our routine - all of these things can be difficult to handle at once.
Isabella discusses navigating Christmas with an eating disorder and Beat's support services over Christmas.
Services available for people affected by an eating disorder over the Christmas period.
Whatever this Christmas season is like for you, I want to give you hope for the Christmas future. I can't tell you that recovery is linear, or that five years on I don't still have wobbles and moments of doubt. But I can say that all of my efforts, all of the hard work and fear that has gone into my recovery has been worth it.
Growing up, Christmas was my absolute favourite time of year and now that I am rid of my eating disorder, I am free to enjoy the festivities once again. However, I spent two awful Christmastimes, the first with bulimia and the second with binge eating disorder.
In the lead up to Christmas, those joining our online support groups have been talking about coping with an eating disorder at Christmas and the plans they are putting in place this year to help ease any worries and concerns.
The NHS and leading eating disorder charity Beat have drawn up new guidance to help people of all ages suffering with an illness and their families cope over the festive season.
The run up to Christmas can be really exciting: preparing for holidays, time with family and friends, parties, presents and often lots of food. But that excitement can be equalled and even overshadowed by worry, guilt, resentment and panic.
Christmas has always been a very busy and exciting time for me. Singing with my church choir, playing at events with the school orchestra – there was an endless number of things that I looked forward to. Many involved food and going out for meals, which I also loved to do.
I understand how the hustle and bustle of Christmas bells and laughter can be so quickly swept away by the intrusion of food-related thoughts that spark from the voice of an eating disorder. I wanted to remind each of you that even though things appear rather dark right now, there is hope!
We talked to our Helpline Manager, Sam, about some of the common questions her team gets around this time of year, and her insights and tips for dealing with the challenges of Christmas.
A one-off workshop for carers, to help you understand the challenges of Christmas – and how to handle them.
Fundraise for Beat this Christmas. Download our resources here!
Bake with Team Beat this Christmas
It can be hard to enjoy a holiday when there are so many things around that make it feel chaotic. For someone like me, who copes with anxiety by needing structure and routine, the spontaneity and fun of a holiday season is enormously difficult to navigate.
Recovery takes time and it isn’t a race – as long as I’m on the right track it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to reach the finish line. I'’ll get there eventually, and next Christmas perhaps anorexia won’t be invited at all.
It's time we accepted our lives shouldn't be ruled by a number on a scale, or what clothing size we are but by what kind of person we are.
Beat supporters Emily and Elisha reflect on their experiences of navigating Christmas with an eating disorder.
Try some easy festive fundraisers to support Beat this Christmas