By Megan Samuels, Intern For Eating Disorder Center
Often times, holidays can be an anxiety producing time, being around friends, being with family, interacting in large social groups, food, body image, etc.
Whether you are going to the beach for the July 4th, spending time with friends, or finding a little relaxation time (which is what I will be doing), I have created some tips for navigating anxiety during this holiday.
Read through these tips and depending on what your holiday plans are, take a picture of some of them so they are easily accessible for you to remember throughout the day/evening/weekend of celebration.
Tip #1: Take some time for self-care
If you choose to stay home for July 4th, consider engaging in some relaxing self-care activities. These could include, drawing, journaling, taking a bubble bath, or curling up with a blanket and your favorite childhood movie (mine is the Sound of Music).
It's ok if you don't have 'big plans' for the holiday. Take the time instead, to practice being kind to yourself.
Tip #2: Watch the fireworks
Watching the fireworks can be another great way to practice those mindfulness skills.
Try laying on the grass (or a blanket) looking up at the sky. Let your body relax. Let your body know that it is safe. Notice the colors of the fireworks. What colors do you see? What emotions are evoked from each color? What physical sensations are happening within your body? How does it feel to be lying on the ground? Do you feel more connected to nature? What thoughts are coming up? What do the fireworks sound like? How does it feel to be so close to the ground?
Tip #3: Comfort animals
July 4th is not a favorite holiday for all living creatures.
I know that my dog will pace around the house shaking during the fireworks. Then she will run to the basement and hide in the bathtub. I take this opportunity to sit with my dog and comfort her.
As I am comforting her, I also feel comfort from her just by being in her presence. Take this opportunity to connect with your pet. Tell your pet a story or explain to them what you have been up to that day.
You can also try resting your head on your pet’s body and listening for their heartbeat or breathing pattern. Does your heartbeat or breathing pattern match the pattern of your pet? How are they similar? How are they different?
Don’t have a pet at home? No neighbors with pets around? Some local animal shelters will let volunteers comfort animals during the fireworks on the 4th of July. Look into animal shelters in your area to see if this could be a possibility for you.
Tip #4: Notice how you feel in your body
Take a moment (or longer) to notice how you feel in your body.
How connected do you feel? Describe what you currently feel in your body. What are you wearing? Describe the feeling of the clothing against your skin. How do you feel about what you are wearing? Do you feel calm? Do you feel anxious? Where is that anxiety coming from? How can we calm down? How does your body feel in relation to the weather and the temperature outside?
It's helpful to try to practice 'curiosity without judgement' when it comes to noticing body sensations.
You can also try doing a meditation to relax your nervous system, apps I like include 'Insight Timer' and 'Headspace.'
Tip #5: Eat food that you actually enjoy
Eating disorders and diet culture love to tell you that certain foods are 'good' or 'bad,' but this is simply not the case.
Today (and everyday) you deserve to eat foods that you actually enjoy-without beating yourself up or trying to 'compensate' in some way later.
Food is not just fuel, it's also about pleasure, enjoyment, and social connection.
If your eating disorder is trying to give you rules around food today, work to practice an 'opposite action' to whatever your eating disorder urges are. This is true strength.
The Bottom Line
I hope that these were helpful during your July 4th experience!
Gratitude and mindfulness can help you check-in with you body and respect it.
It can also act as an opportunity to thank you body for all that it does for you, and for letting you be with friends and watching the fireworks or being snuggled up with your pet at home.
Are you ready to find freedom?
Book your free 15 min consultation.
The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center founded by Jennifer Rollin. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED, and body image issues. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We also offer eating disorder therapy virtually throughout California serving those in cities including Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, San Jose, and Beverly Hills. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.