Eating disorder recovery over the summer holidays - Eating Disorders Victoria
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Home ~ Blog Posts ~ Eating disorder recovery over the summer holidays

EDV is on a Christmas break from COB Dec 23rd. We will be back on Jan 3rd 2023.

During this this time you will be able to send emails and leave voice messages via the EDV Hub, however they will not be answered until our return.

We’ve put together this page of resources for you to refer to while we’re away!

For additional support during this period, please contact:

The Butterfly Foundation National Helpline (closed on national public holidays)
PH: 1800 33 4673. You can also chat online or email

Carers and Support people can access Peer Support online through Eating Disorders Families Australia’s strive Facebook group.

For urgent support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or go to your nearest emergency department.

For those in recovery

 We know that for many people with an eating disorder, Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year. However, with the right preparation and a flexible approach, we want to assure you that you CAN get through this period with your recovery and relationships in tact.

It’s ok not to celebrate.

The holiday period is often full of obligatory celebrations, dinners, barbeques, drinks and kris kringles. If some, or all of the events are going to be too difficult for you, you are allowed to stay home! Some moments of challenge and vulnerability are great, but don’t wear yourself out trying to manage event after event when you just aren’t feeling it. Try and let go of the concept of obligation and do what is right for you.

Set boundaries.

Boundaries are always an important thing to consider, but also difficult! Social boundaries are particularly important over the holiday season so take some time to think about how you want to manage the unwelcome or inappropriate comments that may come your way. Ready yourself with some pre-prepared, firm, assertive & boundary setting phrases. It can also be good to have a friend or family member who can support you with these phrases or can intervene on your behalf if you are struggling.

Examples:

“I am not going to discuss that today”
“I find that comment inappropriate”
“Thanks for your concern, but I’m not going to talk about that today” 
“That is not up for discussion, let’s talk about something else”

Give yourself permission

Perhaps you are eager to get into the festive spirit, but the ED voice is trying to drown out the joy. Try and see if you can give yourself permission to have a break from the ED. This might just be an hour, a day or a week. Setting boundaries with the ED can feel strange but can give you great relief! Decide on an affirmation or phrase that works for you and keep coming back to it when the ED thoughts strike.

Examples:

 “I am allowed to enjoy this”
“Today I do not have to listen to ED”
“I give myself permission to celebrate.”  

Take time to self soothe

If you feel overwhelmed at an event or gathering, take some time out to self-soothe. This could be doing some journaling, breathing exercises, meditation or other grounding techniques – whatever works for you. It might also help to have a mantra to ground yourself in stressful situations such as “Today I’ll be kind to myself.”

Respect the non-negotiables

For some families, having non-negotiables over the holiday period is how they cope with the eating disorder and their own distress around the illness. A common non-negotiable might be that if you come to Christmas lunch, you need to eat. Non-negotiables can feel unnecessarily strict or as if your family is setting you up to fail, but this is not the case. Try and understand that the eating disorder has effects on the people around you too and they are trying to set a boundary with your ED, just as you might do within yourself! If you feel as though you cannot stick to the agreement, that is ok too! Let your family know, organize a FaceTime with them instead, make plans to see them in the next week, and practice some good self-care at home.

For carers, families and friends

This time of year can be especially challenging for loved ones and carers. Our Carer Coaching team have put together some tips to help prepare for festive events and holiday trips.

For parents/carers of young people

When a child, teen or young adult is in the care of the family, festive celebrations can cause tension and distress in the home. Remember, ensuring your loved one is continuing to receive adequate nutrition is still the priority. You may need to do some additional preparation to ensure this happens.

If you are attending events outside the home, consider explaining your situation in advance. Weigh up the need for your child’s privacy vs the need for family support. This could be done via an email and perhaps linking into Laura Hill’s Ted Talk video which explains to relatives how difficult things are for you loved one right now.

If having a meal at a relative’s house, consider having a “code” if your young person needs a break from triggering food talk or from the meal itself. Perhaps a close relative can be included to assist with distraction if needed. Your young person may feel uncomfortable with not knowing what is to come when eating at someone else’s house so try to have a tag out plan if need be. Consider taking them to a separate room and complete the meal if they are finding sitting amongst everyone too stressful. Is it easier if your young person “sits at the kids table”?  Younger children often eat with abandon and joy and this modelling can be beneficial to assist your young person with their own eating.

If travelling, make sure you plan ahead. Have an esky in the car filled with snacks and restock each day of the journey. Try to keep a level of routine around meal times. Perhaps choose self-catering accommodation so that you can prepare your own food. If eating out, get your loved one to look at the menu ahead of time so there are no surprises. Feel free to play family games, such as Uno, at the table to provide a level of distraction and fun.

For loved ones of adults with eating disorders

Speak with your loved one about what would be most helpful for them during this season. This may involve helping them manage their social engagements, deciding what to say yes or no to, or being a support person available to call if they need. If you are attending an event together, ask how you can help them feel more comfortable. This may be steering conversation away from food or diet talk, being available to take a break together if your loved one needs a time-out, or helping serve them a plate of food.

Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers as a support person. Encourage your loved one to connect with the Helplines listed below if they need professional counselling support.

Online resources

The holidays can be a great opportunity to take a break from regular work/study/life and focus on your recovery. Here are some helpful online resources to help you get started.

Podcasts to listen to

Books to read

  • Overcoming Binge Eating by Christopher Fairburn
  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk
  • Musings from the Moon by Jenna Ramondo
  • How to do the Work by Nicole LePera
  • Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
  • 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin
  • The DBT (R) Solution for Emotional Eating by Bedra Safer, Sarah Adler, Phillip Mason
  • If Not Dieting, Then What? By Rick Kausman
  • Health At Every Size by Lindo Bacon
  • Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Rech
  • Skills-Based Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder by Janet Treasure (for carers)

Meditation and Yoga

Helplines and Support Services

Emergency Service
000
www.triplezero.gov.au

Suicide Line
1300 651 251
www.suicideline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 576
www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Victorian Poisons Information Centre
13 11 26
www.austin.org.au/poisons

Department of Health and Human Services (Child Protection)
13 12 78
services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/child-protection

NURSE-ON-CALL
1300 606 024
www.health.vic.gov.au/nurseoncall

Lifeline (24-hour crisis counselling)
13 11 14
www.lifeline.org.au

Mental Health Foundation of Australia – Mental Health Helpline
1300 643 287
www.mhfa.org.au

Alfred Health Carer Services (Carer Support and 24 Hour Respite)
1800 052 222
www.carersouth.org.au

The Blue Knot Foundation (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse)
1300 657 380
www.blueknot.org.au

Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria (ARCVic)
(03) 9830 0533
www.arcvic.org.au

Beyond Blue
1300 224 636
www.beyondblue.org.au

Bullying Zero Australia
(03) 9094 3718
www.bzaf.org.au

Butterfly Foundation
1800 33 4673
www.butterfly.org.au

Cannabis Information and Helpline
cannabissupport.com.au/

Carer’s Victoria
1800 242 636
www.carersvictoria.org.au

(CASA) Victorian Centre Against Sexual Assault
1800 806 292
www.casa.org.au

Dads in Distress
1300 853 437
parentsbeyondbreakup.com

Drug and Alcohol Information in Other Languages
1800 888 326

Direct Line (24-hour drug and alcohol counselling)
1800 888 236
www.directline.org.au

Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Services
1800 812 804
www.dacas.org.au

Family Relationship Advice Line
1800 050 321
www.familyrelationships.gov.au/talk-someone/advice-line

Gamblers Help Line Victoria
1800 858 858
www.gamblershelp.com.au

Grief Line (Support for grieving adults and children)
(03) 9935 7400
griefline.org.au

Headspace
1800 650 890
www.headspace.org.au

Heavy M.E.T.A.L Group (Mens counselling for anger and violence)
0401 766 877
www.heavymetalgroup.com.au

Kids Helpline
1800 551 800
www.kidshelp.com.au

Maternal and Child Health Line
13 2229
www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood/parents/support

Melbourne Homeless Services
1800 627 727
www.melbourne.homeless.org.au

Mensline Australia
1300 789 978
www.mensline.org.au

Mind Carers Helpline
1300 554 660
www.mindaustralia.org.au

Narcotics Anonymous – Victorian Area Helpline
(03) 9525 2833
www.na.org.au

Parentline
1300 30 1300
www.parentline.com.au

PANDA Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia
1300 726 306
www.panda.org.au

QUIT (Support to stop smoking)
13 78 48
www.quit.org.au

Respect (Victims of physical or sexual abuse)
1800 737 732
www.1800respect.org.au

Safe Steps Home (domestic violence)
1800 015 188
www.safesteps.org.au

Sane Australia Helpline
1800 187 263
www.sane.org

South East CASA (Centre Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence)
1800 806 292
www.secasa.com.au

Sexual Assault Crisis Line
1800 806 292
www.sacl.com.au

Victims of Crime HelpLine
1800 819 817
www.victimsofcrime.vic.gov.au

Wellways Helpline
1300 111 500
www.wellways.org/helpline

LGBTQI+ Support

Rainbow Door
1800 729 367
www.rainbowdoor.org.au

QLife
1800 184 527
www.qlife.org.au

Substance use support

Preparing for Holiday Challenges to Addiction Recovery – SMART Recovery

Where to Get Help for Drug and Alcohol-related Issues – Positive ChoicesDrinkWise. | Support Services

Community meals

Every year, the Salvos host Christmas lunches and other meals across the country, at no cost to you. If you are feeling lonely and have no one to share Christmas with, or are unable to prepare your own Christmas meal, you are invited.

www.salvationarmy.org.au/christmas/need-help-this-christmas/join-us-christmas-meal/

Get in touch with EDV

To hear from a member of the EDV team in the new year, please send an enquiry to the EDV Hub.

We’ll get back to you after our return on January 3rd 2023.

Wishing you a safe and happy festive season. 

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