Help! I am Dreading the Holiday Party!

Do you have holiday parties to go to and you'd rather run and hide? Are you worried that people will be judging your appearance and commenting on your body, either positively or negatively? Unfortunately, it's true, this happens but it doesn't have to ruin your night.  So what can you do to prepare for the party and go and have a good time?

Here are some tips and things to remember:

  • No matter what your size, you are not the only person in the room who feels self conscious. Everyone has something they are judging harshly about themselves.
  • While judgment happens, it doesn't mean the judger is right or that there is anything wrong with your body.
  • A person's judgment of you only tells you something about their values and their own sense of unworthiness.
  • Do you refuse to be friendly towards others who look differently than you do? Then why are you assuming others will treat you that way?
  • Make sure you are comfortable in what you are wearing.  If you can't buy a new outfit, then maybe find a new lipstick or a favorite scarf or some bad ass earrings.  Wear something that you love that makes you happy.
  • If our society were more accepting of all bodies and their differences, you would not be feeling the way you are feeling.  Consider becoming an advocate for the shifts that society needs to make.
  • Your body is not wrong, our culture is wrong to make you feel that way and it's ok to get angry about that.
  • It's no one's business where you are on your personal body journey.  No one knows your story and they should not assume they do. 
  • Don't assume that people who have lost weight were trying to and that people who have gained weight are unhappy about it.
  • Check your own biases at the door.  (We all have them.)
  • If no one should say anything negative about your body, then you should not say anything negative to yourself either. We can be our own worst enemies.
  • The people judging you are victims of diet culture as much as you are. Compassion is needed for everyone. 
  • What is your intention at the party?  Visit with a friend? See family? Support a spouse? You can set an expectation for what you want to happen. For example, I intend to unwind, relax and catch up with my friend Sue. Or, I don't really know anyone so I intend to show up and support my spouse and enjoy the prepared food that will be offered.  Or, I am going solo and it's expected for work so I intend to learn something new about someone.  The night doesn't need to "happen" to you.  You create your reality. 
  • The attitude you project is often what you will get back.  How do you expect to be treated? Expect the best!
  • Some people are just assholes and it's ok to avoid them like the plague. Or anyone who drains your energy or makes you feel bad about yourself.
  • If you've been working on disordered eating or body image this year, remind yourself you are healing and you deserve gentle loving care.  What can you do in each moment to feel more comfortable? Get a breath of fresh air? Sit after standing for awhile? Make a plan to sneak out early and watch holiday movies?
  • If you haven't been working on disordered eating this year,  but find you don't want to go to the party because the food is stressing you out, consider how you'd rather feel around food and see what you can do after the party to take steps in that direction.
  • Can you make someone else in the room feel more comfortable?
  • It may be hard to shift and feel good about yourself all in one night, but if you decide to practice respecting and accepting yourself all year round, then each party won't be such a stretch and feel so uncomfortable.
  • Remember you are worthy and wonderful simply because you walked in the door.  

Is it ever ok to stay home and skip the party? Absolutely! That can be great self care.  But if you are going to be disappointed in yourself for not going, or feel like you aren't facing a reality that isn't going to change, or feel like you are letting others judgments keep you from enjoying yourself when you really do love to dance or be social, these thoughts might require some time to sit with and work through.  Occasionally skipping an obligation that is not something you would really enjoy is understandable, but missing out on events and activities night after night and month after month is missing out on your life.

Enjoy the party!