Tips For Managing Stress Eating During Pandemic
The current times have caused a shift in routines, increased stress and anxiousness. And, with that, cases of stress eating have also been growing. While this is not a ‘how to stop stress eating’ article, it’s a guide on managing stress and eating habits that result from it. Read on!
What is Stress Eating & How Does it Affect You?
As it is more popularly known, stress eating, or emotional eating is a coping mechanism in response to environmental variables. Or in more human terms, whenever you are stressed or feeling an intense amount of anger or sadness, you tend to find comfort in food. Often, this ‘comfort food’ falls in the unhealthy category.
The pandemic has disrupted just about everyone’s lives. From the idea of losing loved ones to the pressure of working abnormally long hours to job security, all this has resulted in stress levels rising. This is what makes reaching out for that next snack so good.
While gorging on unhealthy food can seem to be the solution, it is not. It is just a short-term answer and ignoring the underlying problem will only make things worse. Such food also causes damage to your health (think of that drained feeling after a sudden sugar rush). Here are some tips that may help.
1. Know Your Triggers
Before working to control emotional eating, know what triggers it. Use a diary/ digital notepad/ any other note-taking option you prefer for this. Whenever you find yourself heading towards a snack, note down the following:
- What were you doing right before you felt like snacking?
- How do you feel right now?
- How hungry are you?
- What and how much are you eating?
When tracked over a few days, it should help you find what’s triggering the need for eating. If possible, use your notes to eliminate these triggers. If you can’t (sigh… those unending Zoom calls), there are still ways to curb it.
2. Follow a Daily Routine
With the transition to working from home, the kitchen is right around the corner. This makes reaching out for a snack a few steps away. While some may argue that walking to and fro gives them their daily ‘exercise’, it’s not highly beneficial. Keep a regular schedule for meals and snacks to avoid eating at odd times. A routine schedule will also keep the lines between your work and non-work life from blurring. This should reduce overworking and stress.
Tip: While creating your routine, remember that we have only 24 hours in a day, and at times, it’s okay not to do everything.
3. Look for Alternate Activities
Often, some people eat just because they’re bored. If this is you, it’s time to look for alternatives to push boredom aside. Some ideas for you:
- Calling a friend
- Take a walk around the house
- Decluttering your desk
- Listen to music
- Solving a puzzle
- Get started on a new/ existing hobby
- Make a list of more things to do
4. Keep Healthier Options Within Reach
Eating is not too much of a problem as long as it’s healthy and in moderation. Replace crunchy chips with fresh veggies and chocolates with dry fruits. The internet is full of delicious and quick, healthy snack recipes. While keeping healthier options near, start keeping away unhealthy foods; maybe just don’t store any at home to reduce the temptation of indulging in it. Tip: With DBS Promotional Offers at digibank, you can get discounts on groceries. Another incentive to eat healthily!
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping too little makes one crave calorie-rich food or over-eat. Even if you’re not sleepy, take some time out to relax and look away from the screen. If you’re struggling to fall asleep every night, try to stop looking at your phone/laptop at least an hour before. Avoid tea or coffee near bedtime. Write down whatever is worrying you. If all else fails, count backwards from 200 (or whichever number you feel like).
6. Love Yourself
The pandemic has turned the world upside down, and with the news filled with, well, a lot of bad news, things can get overwhelming. Take some time out for yourself. Indulge in a hobby, take a long warm bath or simply lie down and pretend you’re vacationing in Hawaii! Do whatever makes you happy.
Tip: Try to avoid social media while taking time out. It doesn’t take long for doom scrolling to set in.
7. Reach Out
Sometimes the best way to handle stress is venting out whatever is troubling you. Saying what you’re feeling aloud is an excellent way to reflect and get it out of your system. Chances are someone in your family, or friends’ circle faces a similar problem, and together you can think of a solution.
Note: If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are unable to speak to anyone at home or a friend, please reach out to a professional.
Just know that we’re all humans, and not achieving everything, being tired or even sad, is okay. It’s what differentiates us from machines (though at times, even appliances break down). So, hang in there, use some of the above tips and share with us and others anything else you do to manage stress eating.