Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center
International Eating Disorder Referral Organization
Vacations Can Be Anxiety Provoking When You Have an Eating Disorder!
Written by Ilissa Banhazl, MFT
Vacations can be extremely anxiety provoking for those dealing with an eating disorder. Your environment changes, the foods you have available are different, eating times may vary, and youíre out there socially.
All these changes can be very disturbing. I suggest you are open with the people you travel with so that they can be more sensitive and supportive. If possible, plan ahead by bringing some familiar foods. Itís always a good idea to view your trip as a challenge, an opportunity to grow. Push yourself through your fear and discomfort and try letting go of controlling your environment and give in to this new adventure.
Itís probably a good idea to bring along your journal so when times are tough you can sit quietly and give your feelings away to the paper. You can always take time out to meditate or stretch on vacation if that helps you center yourself before you start out on your day of fun. Walking as much as you can on your trip can be a great outlet for your stress.
When you get home from your vacation; pat yourself on the back for this big accomplishment. If your trip didnít go very well this time then donít beat yourself up. Think of it as a learning curve. What worked for you, what didnít? What can you do differently next time? Can you plan ahead for difficult times? Can you bring some transitional objects that remind you of home or keep a lucky charm in your pocket to rub when youíre feeling overwhelmed?
Breaking your routine and getting away although promising lots of fun or adventure can be anxiety provoking for those who do not have an eating disorder. Thereís always a transition. It can take people more than a day to relax so make sure youíve allotted enough time to really let down and enjoy yourself. Donít plan to be away for too many days because that might overly stress you out.
Next time you plan a trip, keep the agenda moderate so you donít feel overwhelmed. Travel with ďsafe peopleĒ and see if you can enjoy a vacation, even though you have an eating disorder. Itís a wonderful opportunity for self growth!
Ilissa is a marriage and family psychotherapist in Glendora CA. You can reach her by visiting www.ilissabanhazlmft.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author and are presented without editing. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of EDReferral.com, and no official endorsement by EDReferral.com of the opinions expressed herein should be inferred.
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