Most of us maybe feeling increasingly stressed as we attempt to cope with living with the Covid-19 pandemic. Helping people through the pandemic isn’t just about helping them stay safe physically, it’s also about helping them maintain good mental and emotional health.
When stressful situations of this magnitude arise, people often experience substantial changes to their eating behaviours. Generally described as emotional or stress eating, we often start to eat (or not eat) in a conscious or unconscious effort to suppress, or soothe negative emotions.
There are many psychological and biological reasons that we eat when we feel stressed. Eating can serve as a welcome distraction from challenging life realities and a self-soothing coping mechanism during uncertain times.
We may crave food higher in fat and sugar when stressed, in part because our body requires more energy to function when stressed, and simple carbohydrates are the fastest way to get a quick hit.
Until we address the emotions driving our eating, our desire to eat will remain when we’re stressed, often leading to longer-term harm to our physical and emotional health. If you find yourself stress eating in response to the pandemic, here are tips to help you:
- Take time each day to reflect on how you feel and whether how you feel is leading you to crave food in an undesirable way;
- It is important we recognize our triggers for emotionally-based eating;
- Make conscious choices about your eating, avoiding triggers when possible. Deliberately choose what you eat and when;
- Get support while avoiding exposure to triggering material. Most of us are quite isolated from our typical routines, communities, and social networks right now, so staying in touch with friends and family is important.
This is going to be a hugely stressful phase of life for millions of people around the world, so practicing deliberate eating behaviours that promotes physical and emotional health is critical.
It is important we think about what it means to be home right now, the pandemic and how the pandemic is changing our eating habits and lifestyle.