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Don’t be scared!: Staying Strong in Eating Disorder Recovery During Halloween

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Staying in eating disorder recovery during Halloween, a holiday often associated with candy and treats, can be challenging, but it's important to prioritize your recovery during this time and keep in mind that connection, flexibility, and balance are at the core of recovery and your overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you navigate Halloween in a way that supports your recovery:

1. Plan Ahead:

· Decide in advance how you want to approach Halloween. Having a plan can help you feel more in control and prepared to tackle potential challenges as you enjoy the celebration.

2. Communicate with Support:

· Talk to your therapist, dietitian, family members, friends and other supports about your concerns and ask for their support during this time. Being clear about the type of support you need will make them be more effective in the ways they can help you.

3. Set Boundaries:

· Establish boundaries for yourself, such as deciding how many activities you'll participate in or how much candy or treats you're comfortable having, and discuss your concerns with your dietitian and therapist. This can be a great time to practice normalizing eating candy and completing some food exposures also challenging thoughts and reframing your perspective on this holiday.

4. Stay Balanced and Participate in Non-Food Activities:

· Enjoy this time to the max by engaging also in Halloween activities that don't revolve around food, such as costume planning, decorating, making arts and crafts, and watching spooky movies.

5. Meet Halloween where you are at in recovery:

· If you are ready to have treats go for it! If not, perhaps you can determine with your treatment team other alternatives to still be part of it. Choose options that align with your recovery plan.

6. Be Aware of Triggering Situations:

· If you find certain environments or social situations to be triggering, consider avoiding or limiting your exposure to them. Talk to your therapist about them and plan ahead.

7. Have a Support System in Place:

· Make sure you have a few people in your life you can turn to if you're feeling overwhelmed or tempted to engage in eating disorder behaviors. Let them know about potential triggers and challenges and how to help you.

8. Practice Mindfulness:

· Halloween is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness of your thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Set reminders for check ins with yourself and pay special attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating can help you stay in the present moment and make conscious choices.

9. Stay Busy:

· Keep yourself occupied with enjoyable activities and hobbies to reduce the focus on the challenges that you might be experiencing and defusing some of those distressing thoughts.

10. Remind Yourself of Your Progress:

· Be kind to yourself and reflect on the progress you've made in your recovery and the reasons why you want to stay healthy. This can serve as motivation and a focal point when dealing with challenges and urges to use symptoms.

11. Challenge Negative Thoughts:

· Challenge any negative thoughts or beliefs related to food, weight and body image. Your therapist can help you by teaching you some cognitive-behavioral and ACT (acceptance and Commitment Therapy) techniques you can use.

12. Seek Professional Help:

· If you're struggling to maintain your recovery during Halloween or any other time, it's important to reach out to a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. You are not alone and help is available!

Remember that recovery is a journey, and there may be setbacks along the way. Be kind to yourself and understand that it's okay to ask for help when needed. Prioritizing your physical and mental well-being is essential, and with the right support and strategies, you can navigate holidays like Halloween successfully.

At Home For Balance, we are aware of the challenges experienced by those struggling with an eating disorder and/or working towards recovery. We have a team of therapists committed to supporting those who may be struggling at this time. Some of our clinicians can provide services in different states and languages besides English including Spanish, Ukrainian, and Russian. Online sessions are also available. For more information, please contact us today at or at 561.600.1424 for a FREE 30-minute consultation!

Resources Available:

The National Alliance for Eating Disorders


Project HEAL




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