Our Top Tips for Navigating Easter with an Eating Disorder

After winter, many people are eager for the brighter days and warmer weather of spring. Easter is an exciting time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the environmental changes in nature. However, Easter can be a challenging time for those struggling with an eating disorder.

With so many traditional foods and treats associated with the holiday, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed or triggered. But with some planning and self-care, you can still enjoy the holiday while prioritising  your recovery. Here are some top tips for Easter planning if you have an ED:

Focus on non-food-related activities

Easter is often associated with copious amounts of chocolate eggs and other sweet treats; not forgetting the big family get-togethers centered around an Easter buffet or big roast to celebrate. It may feel like you are surrounded by ‘bad’ foods  during this time, and under pressure to enjoy them all. Remember all foods are good foods in moderation and serve their own purpose, so try not to feel guilt or shame if you find yourself having cravings. These environments can be tricky to navigate and may trigger disordered eating, but t here are plenty of other ways to celebrate Easter that you might enjoy. Focusing on non-food-related activities, such as spending time with loved ones, going for a walk or hike, or participating in Easter-themed crafts or activities such as easter egg hunts, making an easter basket or garland,  can put your mind at ease and reduce any stress around food. Here are some examples to try:

How to Crochet an Easter Wreath and Garland | Hobbycraft

How to Make a Spectacular Easter Bonnet | Hobbycraft

15 Décor Ideas to Make this Easter | Hobbycraft

Plan ahead

If you know you have a big family meal coming up, it can trigger lots of anxiety and stress if you don’t know how it is going to go. It can be helpful to plan as much as possible to avoid any surprises on the day. Find out who will be in attendance, if there is someone you feel most comfortable around, see if you can sit next to them so they can support you through the day. If you are concerned about being triggered by certain foods, find out what food will be served beforehand. This way you can prepare and let the host know of any restrictions or fear  foods you would like to avoid, and they can accommodate for you. You could even bring your own food to eat, that way you are comfortable while still spending time with family. It might also be useful to practice answers to potential questions that may come up on the day, or diversions to other conversation topics that are more comfortable for you.

Practice self-compassion

You may be feeling down over the Easter period, and that’s okay. It’s important to remember that recovery from an eating disorder is a journey, and there may be setbacks along the way. If you find yourself struggling during the Easter holiday, try to practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself that it’s okay to ask for help or take a break if you need it . Try to schedule in some alone time, or time spent outside to engage in grounding exercise, making a note of what you can smell, hear, and see. Also, if you find yourself craving a food and you want to enjoy it, know it’s okay to eat your favourite foods in moderation without guilt or judgement. One meal or snack doesn’t define your self-worth.

Reach out for support

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member you trust and let them know how you are feeling. They will be able to keep an eye on you and support you and they could even help you if any tricky questions or conversations arise over the Easter period. You might want to have a sign or signal with a friend or relative to let them know you are uncomfortable and would like to leave the table for a bit or change the subject. If you don’t have anyone at home to talk to, you could also talk to a therapist or a support group for help and guidance. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Remember, the most important thing during the Easter holiday is to prioritise  your own well-being and recovery. Easter is one weekend out of the year, and it is over in a flash! Enjoy the extra time you can spend with your family and friends. With a bit of planning and self-care, you can still enjoy it.

For more information, check out our Guide to Easter and Eating Disorders

Contributed by Lucy Robinson

Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Lead