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The holidays come with baggage–and we’re not talking packed bags and missed flights. This time of year is a breeding ground for anxiety in all forms. A form of anxiety that is lightly talked about every season? Food anxiety. It is real, it is hard, and tossed in with typical holiday stressors, it can feel like it’s worse than ever.

However, we’re hoping to make your winter a bit merrier and brighter with some tips on how you can cope with and potentially reduce food anxiety this season.

Let them eat cake (among other things)
Release yourself from the restraints of food rules. It’s so much easier said than done, and those internalized messages that tell you that you have had one-too-many slices of your mom’s famous pie seem to grow louder. Let go and let the good stuff in. This is inclusive of all the delicious food you may find sitting pretty at the dinner table.

Combine the good with the not-so-good
So you’ve loaded up on all that stuffing–no big deal. We say go ahead with enjoying as much as you want, but just add some good with the not-so-good. If you see some greens on the table, scoop up a serving and add it to your plate. It’s all about balance and mixing what’s good for your body with the stuff that’s maybe not so healthy (but super good for the soul).

Own your relationship with food
The most important thing you can do this holiday season is this: own your relationship with food, and do not let it own you. It’s hard not to think about the pounds, the aches, and the “what if’s?” that come with eating–but that does not define you. Be sure to remember that when you reassess your anxiety over the holidays. It’s quite alright to step away for some solo time to decompress, unwind, and start again. There’s a reason the holidays are right before the New Year. We all get to look forward to a fresh start one way or the other.

Set boundaries with your family and with yourself
It’s difficult to have difficult conversations–hence the name. However, it does wonders for your mental health when you speak with your family and establish boundaries. If you know this season is going to be unlike the seasons before, tell them. Just as you can’t read their minds, they can’t read yours. Having explicit conversations allows for everyone to be held accountable, and leaves you feeling like you’re not alone in this. Furthermore, say so long to toxic diet culture. Rid yourself of subscriptions and unfollow any accounts that make you feel like you need to be, act, or feel a certain way about food.

Give back your leftovers (to the earth)
This holiday season, why not give a little? If you or your family have any leftovers, try and give them back instead of eating off of them for days, even weeks. Package them up in recyclable containers and deliver them to your local shelters for families in need. If you still have leftovers or would like to skip out on charity for COVID-19 reasons, no worries. You can compost your food. Find out more tips about composting your food at Trash is for Tossers.

As always, please consult your doctor if you are experiencing amplified anxiety and increased stress this holiday season!

xx, The FabFitFun Team