For many, the holiday season if often marked with traditions such as special meals, family gatherings, and special activities like decorating a tree, caroling, and baking. Taking part in and enjoying these special traditions is important during the busyness of the holiday season, and they are important for numerous reasons.
- Comfort and belonging: Traditions are often centered on family and memories and serve as gentle reminders and comfort us. As families come together to celebrate these traditions, these memorable routines instill a sense of belonging and allow us to reconnect with one another.
- Generational ties: Special moments provide an opportunity for a deeper interaction between generations, leading to bonding moments and an appreciation for one another.
- Shaping values: From shaping and reinforcing values such as freedom, faith, integrity, responsibility, and community, traditions enable us to showcase learned principles in celebration and unity.
- Intentional decisions: Traditions allow us to be intentional with how we utilize our time with one another. These intentional decisions push us to make an effort to spend this time with others engaged in important activities.
- Memories: Lasting traditions, especially from our childhood, serve as an avenue for creating lasting memories. Reflecting fondly on past traditions reaps positive benefits such as counteracting loneliness, reducing anxiety, and generosity for others.
- Pause and reflection: Traditions offer us the opportunity to pause and reflect on those around us and the moment we are sharing. They also are something we look forward to, a happy anticipation that brings positivity.
Jessica Ward, Director of Therapeutic Services at Selah House, shares, “I love traditions that come with holidays, but it was our adolescent clients at Selah House that helped me understand their importance and how to see them as valuable and instead of just fun. In a recent adolescent group I was leading, many of the girls shared family experiences that have become traditions and created positive family connections. It wasn’t where I intended for the group conversation to go but was a great time of sharing. Several group members shared that these traditions provide an opportunity to set aside conflict and busyness and they appreciated the connection to their family members. Amid some difficult family dynamics, some of which may have resulted from their eating disorders and others which may have impacted it, they deeply appreciated these special memories formed from traditions.”
Keeping traditions for holidays and throughout the year helps teach children about the moments their family values. By fulfilling an individual’s need to belong, traditions provide a sense of security with continuity and routine. In a world where change is a constant and progress is positive, taking part in familiar traditions can be an important point of stability.
At Selah House, we seek to help clients discover and resolve the underlying causes of their eating disorder while working on managing the behaviors. Because eating disorders often emerge during times of change, looking for points of stability in their life and that of the family may provide a needed sense of security. The sense of belonging gained from traditions helps to provide peace and overcome the isolation an eating disorder can create. As families come together over meals or activities, they can build bridges and form a needed reconnection. Identifying and connecting with values can also be an important part of the recovery process; traditions allow us to refocus and bring clarity around the guiding principles we have learned.
The holiday season can be a difficult time for considering treatment for an eating disorder. At Selah House, we’ve created traditions that help make the holidays a special time for our staff, clients, and families. We come together to decorate the house for Christmas, take trips see the Christmas lights, enjoy a special Christmas Eve cooking group for creating delicious treats for visitors, and we have a special time for gifts on Christmas Day.
“One thing I enjoy most about leading the Christmas Eve cooking group is the opportunity it gives our clients to make family recipes. It is so special for them to share their family traditions with their Selah House family,” shares Jessica.
We encourage you to take time this busy season to reflect on your traditions. Talk to your family and friends about your traditions as you participate in them; share your memories and invite others to take part. If you find that meaningful traditions are missing from your life, consider starting some new ones. Sometimes our traditions shift and change as life changes but inviting others to join in things we enjoy is never out of season!
At Selah House, we provide help you reclaim your life from your eating disorder. Our Christ-centered, clinically excellent program focuses on the whole being through therapeutic, psychiatric, mental, and nutritional care that supports women and girls (ages 12+) physically, spiritually, and emotionally during recovery. If you or someone you love would like more information, call us today at 866-324-8081 or complete our contact form.
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. – 2 Thessalonians 2:15