I wake up every morning hoping that it was all just a bad dream. The cancelled events, social distancing, and fear of the unknown has our world in utter chaos. I am not panicking, but I would be lying if I said that thoughts about COVID-19 are not consuming my mind right now. It is hard to escape when every media outlet is talking about it nonstop, and our personal lives are being affected so greatly. We are all trying to navigate this new, and hopefully, very short-lived normal. This current situation is stressful, so I wanted to tackle the topic of stress eating and give you some tips if you are finding yourself turning to food to deal with it.
My guess is that a lot of people are currently struggling with stress eating. Not only does the increased anxiety and worry add to this, but also being isolated in your home with unlimited access to food will play a role. If you are used to working outside the home with designated lunch breaks, you may be finding that you are now working from home and perusing the refrigerator every hour. Or maybe you are like me and are taking advantage of the time at home to cook and bake all the things.
Food can make us feel better in the moment and occasional emotional eating is part of being human. Please don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself turning to food. However, food is also not the answer for dealing with difficult emotions. Eating that sleeve of Oreos is not going to make those uncomfortable feelings go away, and in fact may make you feel even worse when you realize what you have done.
Here are some things that you can do if you find yourself turning to food during times of stress:
- Acknowledge your feelings and give them to God:
- Read your Bible, focusing on the promises of God
- Pray, casting all your cares and anxieties on him
- Journal your feelings to process through them
- Focus your thoughts on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives or “what ifs”
- Distract yourself – turn to a hobby or project that will take your mind off food
- Get out of the house – even with social distancing, you can take a walk or go for a drive
- Get some physical activity to release endorphins and reduce stress
- Connect with others – call a friend or schedule a virtual coffee date
Now is not the time to worry about how “healthy” your food is, but rather be grateful that you have some. Take this time at home to be creative with food. Do some meal planning and create balanced meals with canned goods and pantry staples. Find ways to be grateful and efficient with the food that you have.
I hope this information is helpful if you are struggling with emotional eating during this time. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about it. I would love to hear about other things that you are doing to deal with the stressful situation we are living in right now.