Dealing With Sickness: Maintaining Recovery During the Holiday Season

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

The holiday season in itself can bring about many ups and downs, especially for a person in recovery from an eating disorder. While the season itself can be joyous and celebratory, keeping up with the many demands of the holidays can also be stressful in many different ways.

There are often many different functions or events to plan and/or attend, family to visit, activities to participate in, shopping, crowds and more. Burn out is not uncommon during the holiday season, in which an individual is stretched beyond their limitations.

Being aware of these possible circumstances is crucial to someone who is working diligently to maintain their recovery efforts. During a season of high stress, it is not uncommon to experience some form of illness or sickness. Stress results in a lowered immune response, which can make a person more vulnerable to developing or contracting an illness.

Take Care of Yourself!

Sick woman sleeping in bedroomFor an individual in recovery, sickness is always a challenging curve ball to deal with, whether the illness is chronic or acute. Short term illnesses, like the flu or cold, can be difficult to manage along with maintaining recovery from an eating disorder, and it is important to be prepared for these types of situations.

For example, dealing with illness can cause loss of appetite, fatigue, exhaustion and weakness, all which can make essential functions like eating, much more challenging to accomplish.

Because eating disorder recovery is often delicate, the slightest mishap can cause a setback. Being proactive in your recovery is essential to maintaining your efforts in your journey. If you are dealing with sickness during the holiday season (or any time of year), having a plan ahead of time can help you better deal with the challenges you may face.

Keeping self-care a priority is critical, as well as reaching out for any help you may need. If you are unable to care for yourself, reach out to a family member or friend who can help support your needs during this time. Getting adequate rest, staying hydrated and nourished are important as well.

While you may be tempted to continue along with the holiday hustle and bustle, take the appropriate time you need to get well and healthy, as this is fundamental to your eating disorder recovery.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

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Crystal Headshot 2Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 24, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.