Rachel’s Reads: A Holly Jolly Hardship

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Rachel Scully, Arts & Life Editor

Content Warning: Eating Disorders

It’s the holidays, which means food, food and even more food. For some, this is a glorious time full of feasting, fun and full bellies. For others however, the holidays and all the eating that comes with them spark fear. In the past, I was part of the latter group. There was a time when I felt like eating was my enemy and that I needed to stop to feel good about myself. Today, I know I was not alone in this. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, over 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders. For these people, it can be extremely hard to get through the holiday season.

There are plenty of different stressors that can be included with the joys of the holiday season.

Getting together with family and friends after not seeing them for awhile can be daunting. Family members can sometimes say things without realizing that their words are insensitive or hurtful.

In addition to the people pleasing, being constantly surrounded by food can put even people in recovery from an eating disorder into an emotional spiral. There were times where after I ate, I started to feel bad. I looked at food as something I needed to avoid in order to feel good. It becomes extremely hard to stay grounded.

Although my experience does not mirror everyone else’s, there are a few things that have helped me in the past and continue to help me today.

There have been times when it was hard for me to walk away and take some time for myself when I got overwhelmed. However, this is a vital step in staying sane during the hectic holiday season. Sometimes, you just need to take a breather. You are not a monster for taking some moments for yourself.

Being able to walk away from conversations that make you feel uncomfortable is also important. Remember, you have control in your life. You get to make the decisions. Don’t let someone pressure you into going somewhere or doing something just because they are family. It can be hard to say no, but sometimes you have to, for your own sake.

Most importantly, you are not alone. Reread that statistic mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, there are so many other people struggling with eating disorders. However, this also means that there are people who also understand what you are going through. You are not alone. Remember that. It comforted me when I was struggling. I even found friends that were feeling the same way and we would text each other whenever we needed support.

For many, such a happy time can turn into a hardship. For those of you who are part of the struggle, try to continue looking forward and stay strong. There are so many people who support you. To everyone else, remember to check in on friends and family. You never know what someone is going through.