Dealing With Post Holiday Blues: How to Get Back On Track In Recovery

Woman struggling with severe relapse

It has been famously said, time and again, that “all good things must come to an end”, and for many of us, this might include the holiday season. While the holidays can be a stressful and busy time, the time that is taken to unplug, connect with family, and enjoy things outside a normal routine can be refreshing. Many people may take this time to travel, visit loved ones, take a vacation from work, and otherwise break from the typical schedules that are followed on a day to day basis.

Working Through the Holiday Blues

The anticipation and excitement that is experienced during the holiday season is often met with some degree of disappointment and/or sadness once the holidays have passed. While not everyone will experience this sentiment, these emotions are typically known as the “holiday blues”. Some individuals may feel rather relieved that the holidays are over and ready to move one, but for others, the holiday blues are a real experience that can even trigger emotions like depression, anxiety, and general uneasiness.

A person who is experiencing “holiday blues” might suffer with actual physical and emotional symptoms that can be difficult and overwhelming to work through. Some of the symptoms that might be experienced may include but are not limited to:Woman in recovery

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Crying spells
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased activity level
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in appetite, eating habits

Experiencing the holiday blues while also in recovery can be especially triggering and difficult to work through. For a person in recovery, the holiday blues can cause a rise in urges to engage in eating disorder behaviors, such as restricting, binging, purging, overexercising, and more.

Understanding the Triggers and Finding Help

The holiday blues can creep up rather suddenly and unexpectedly, and many individuals who are experiencing the emotions associated with the holiday blues may not fully understand what is occurring. A person might even feel shameful about what they are going through or unable to express their emotions or reach out for help.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the holiday blues while also trying to work through your recovery, it is important to reach out for the help and support you need during this difficult time.

Experiencing higher than normal urges to engage in the eating disorder is a red flag that something is not right, and support is crucial to help you work through these emotions. Get plugged into a support group, schedule an extra session with your therapist, and get back into a routine and structure that best supports your recovery efforts. While this may feel like a roadblock, this is something you can work through and overcome, but you don’t need to do so alone. Lean on the support of loved ones and those you trust to help work through the holiday blues.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

What are ways that you have worked through the holiday blues?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal 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 Director of Content and Social Media 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 December 29, 2016
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