Christmas celebrations in the UK often centre on food, drink and family gatherings, but campaigners warn that the party season can place additional strain on those living with eating disorders.
“It’s tricky even years down the line to watch the happiness and festivities at Christmas,” says Katie Scott, 21, who is in recovery from an eating disorder.
“I have always loved [the time of year] – I love the food, I love being with my family. But now it’s difficult because of the eating disorder.”
She adds: “No matter how hard I try or want it to be carefree or eating-disorder free I know that it can’t be – it’s bittersweet.”
Her comments come as new guidance is published to help those living with eating disorders over the festive season.
Katie first became unwell at the age of 14, restricting her food intake and falling into depression. She was initially diagnosed with eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS), and later with anorexia aged 16.
She describes her first diagnosis as the beginning of a “long and ongoing struggle” with eating and her weight, mood and self-harm, straining her relationships with her family and friends.
“It left me feeling desperate and isolated,” she says. “It was a life-threatening situation.”
Katie dropped out of school for periods of time, undergoing inpatient treatment. She was finally discharged from hospital aged 18, joining the year below her at school to finish her education before going to university.
“I had to rebuild my life from rock bottom,” she says.
Katie explains that she has found Christmas “an especially difficult time” both while unwell and in recovery, often feeling unable to get fully involved with the festivities.
“The celebrations are obviously very focused around food,” she says. “I love food, but I’m scared of it so I have this contradiction – the fear factor.
“I’ve found Christmas quite hard to deal with in the past because I wanted to look forward to it, but all of the elements that I love [about it] became stressful and scary.”
She adds: “I think anorexia might be an extreme version of losing the magic of Christmas. It’s still a lovely time of year but it’s not quite the same.
“I kid myself each year that it will be but it’s never as easy as it was before. It can be disappointing.”
The charity Beat estimates 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder, with anorexia known to have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Offering support at Christmas
The NHS and eating disorder charity Beat have published new guidance on how to support people with eating disorders and their families at Christmas.
The advice aims to help friends and family of those of any age with such an illness navigate the festive period – while continuing to manage a condition.
Some of the suggested techniques, based on experience from clinicians, patients and parents, include:
- Serving food as a buffet rather than as sit-down meals
- Minimising the social expectations of people with eating disorders over the festive season
- Treating meals on and around Christmas Day as routinely as possible
- Planning well ahead and thinking about how food features in the day
- Once dinner is over, shifting the focus on to other activities such as playing games
- Making loved ones aware to avoid questions about weight or appetite
For Katie, planning the structure of the day is key, including what she will do if she is feeling stressed – whether that is stepping outside or going for a walk.
She also advises finding someone to confide in. “Try and have one person who is at least aware that you might struggle,” she says.
Beat has also published advice on how to spot the signs of an eating disorder on its website.
Katie says the Christmas period can also be a hard time for her mother, who, she notices, is focused on keeping her safe and feeling OK amid the celebrations.
“She’s had a few very difficult Christmases with me,” Katie says. “It’s almost worse for mum because she has to deal with me and can’t anticipate how I’m going to react.”
Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan, NHS associate clinical director for children and young people’s mental health, says supporting families to manage eating disorders at home is “crucial”.
She adds that the “added pressure of New Year’s resolutions and the bombardment of weight loss messaging” so close to Christmas can prove challenging for those living with an eating disorder.
“Hopefully these tips will really make a difference,” she says.
Caroline Price, Beat’s director of services, has warned that the pressure to eat large amounts at Christmas “can be triggering” for people with binge-eating disorder and bulimia, as well as causing anxiety for people with anorexia.
She says: “People with eating disorders often try to hide their illness and at Christmas when eating is a social occasion – often with people who they do not see frequently – they may feel ashamed and want to isolate themselves from others.
“At the same time, Christmas can be a source of distress for families who are caring for someone with an eating disorder.
“All these pressures can be made more difficult as the normal support networks are often not available at Christmas, as friends may be away, and regular social activities close for the holidays.”
Anyone worried about their own or someone else’s health is urged to contact Beat’s helplines, which are open year-round and every day from 16:00 to 20:00 GMT from 24 December to 1 January.
Those in need of support can get in contact via phone, email, anonymous one-to-one webchat or social media messaging.
- Beat’s adult helpline can be reached on 0808 801 0677, or there is a dedicated Youthline for under-18s on 0808 801 0711. The online support groups and one-to-one webchat can be accessed here.
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
Weak Euro-Area PMI Data Suggest Economy Facing Contraction – Financial Post
Vote “No” to Unifor's sellout Ford Canada contract! Build rank-and-File committees to fight for a North America-wide strike against the Detroit Three! – WSWS
Toys, twisted rollercoasters, rooftop fountains: meet this year’s Turner Prize nominees – The Guardian
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Business22 hours ago
Morgan Stanley Says All Oil Signals Flashing Tightness
Media22 hours ago
The Supreme Court showdown over social media “censorship” and free speech online
Art23 hours ago
Culture Days in the City of Barrie aim to inspire public participation in arts and culture
Business18 hours ago
Unifor made no concessions bargaining with Ford: Lana Payne
Business23 hours ago
Amazon to move to default ad-tier model for Prime Video
Art23 hours ago
The Copyright Office is making a mistake on AI-generated art
News23 hours ago
Canada recall: Shimano bike cranksets removed over crash hazard
Real eState18 hours ago
Why experts say predictability is returning to Ontario’s real estate market