Is Quarantine Life Making You Stress-Eat?
Are you breaking your head trying to come up with ways to get through homebound times without raiding your fridge?
This quarantine situation is still going but how are YOU holding up?
If you’re anything like any other human on the planet your emotions may feel a little all over the place…
One moment full of hope, the next full of panic around when this is going to end and what is the impact going to be.
I’ve had plenty of emotional ups and downs myself. Sometimes I’m excited that I have all this time to focus on serving our community. Other times, it’s full-out fear and anxiety about everything.
Can you relate?
Mixed emotions are running rampant for most everyone right now.
But if you struggle with food, this emotional ride likely results in one thing…a trip to the cabinet. (Where all those quarantine chips, cookies, and candy are waiting to take over your day…)
So how do you stop letting food be your go-to solution when your homebound emotions are on a rampage?
Stay with me and I’ll show you how to make sure that lockdown stress doesn’t leave you elbow-deep in a bag of chips!
Life is stressful enough now. You don’t need food anxiety making your world any crazier than it already is, #AmIRight? Or AmIRight?
Watch the video below to learn how to make food one less source of stress in these wild times!
Let’s start with a quick question: how do you manage your emotional world?
Do you have the right tools in place to manage your intense feelings when they hit you?
What do you normally do when you’re hit by an emotional trainwreck? Does it come and go easily for you, or does it send you looking for anything to stop the stress–including a snack (or two or ten)?
Here’s the typical path of a crazy emotional wave that triggers a trip to the fridge:
An emotion erupts in your body. The spiral ensues, and you feel that gut-punch that you just can’t stop. That’s the part everyone knows. But here’s where it gets interesting…
More often than not, just when that emotional peak is about to come down (it takes about 7-15 minutes), your turmoil wins and you find yourself going for the nearest available snack.
The key to stopping the emotional tidal wave (without grabbing a snack) is something that I call being with and releasing. It’s about first being with and processing your emotions, then releasing them in a healthy way.
There are proactive parts of this process and reactive steps, and I’ll show you how to use them both. That way, you can handle emotional outbursts when they hit you, and take action to prevent them from blindsiding you again.
Where do I start you ask? Let’s dive into that.
The most important step when a heightened emotion hits you – let’s call it “Step Zero”. It’s an easy way to get centered NOW and stop any scary emotion in its tracks. (Think of this as the very least you need to do when you’re struck by a wild and crazy feeling.)
Step Zero: If you find yourself in a place of extreme emotional overwhelm, don’t push that feeling down. Simply acknowledge that emotion. Be honest if you’re scared, overwhelmed, angry, or whatever it may be. It’s 100% OK.
Feeling emotions is normal. What makes them spiral out of control is the stories you create around those emotions. I’m talking about the crazy things that run through your head when the triggers hit.
For example, tell me if any of these thoughts have run through your locked down and homebound mind lately…
What if we run out of food? What if I go to the grocery store and get sick? What if I get the kids sick? What if we run out of money? What if this lockdown thing goes on for months?
This kind of ruminating actually creates more anxiety. So do your best to disconnect from those scary mental stories. Focus on the feeling itself, not the stories your mind makes up about it. Let the feeling move through you, and be on its way. And of course, do your best to just breathe.
Step One: Then, when your center begins to return, remember one important detail. That emotional wave does not represent the real, powerful version of you. Reassure that part of yourself that is feeling scared that everything is going to be OK. Do this as best as you can.
Step Two: So you’ve stopped the emotion in its tracks and let it move through you. What can you do next to get yourself more grounded and empowered?
This is when you ask yourself: What do I need right now? And do that 🙂
Now, on to the more proactive steps to set yourself up for peace with food during lockdowns (or any time, really!). Grab a pen and paper, and let’s have a little fun with this part.
First: List the things that chill you out. First, brain dump a list of all the things that bring you that calm, grounded, peaceful feeling. It could be anything–meditation, yoga, a whiff of a favorite essential oil, or even a simple deep, cleansing breath.
Make a list of everything that helps you feel grounded, and use it to center yourself even further as you process challenging emotions.
One thing I like to do when I’m stressing is simply to bring awareness into the present moment. By this I mean dropping from my head into my body, becoming aware of my physical body, and grounding myself.
Those are a few of my suggestions. Now it’s time to choose yours! So make a list of your favorite things that bring you from chaos to peace. Do this now, and come back when you’re ready for Step 2.
Second: List the things that help you release your energy. The next step is releasing those crazy emotions. You’ve got your list of things that ground you. Now it’s time to list the things that help you get that stressful energy out of your body.
Think of slightly more active things, like having a dance party, or playing in the backyard with the kids. Maybe going for a run or jumping on a trampoline. It might even be punching your pillow or screaming out loud in your car.
The point of all this? If you have tension, release it. You don’t have to hold it inside you. In fact, it’s important that you don’t.
Grab your pen and paper again and make a second list. This time put down the active things you can do to release the tension. Make sure to include active things that are fun for you.
Do this now, and we’ll be here when you’re ready for Step 3!
Lastly: Put it all together. You have these two amazing and supportive lists. What do you do with them? There are two different ways to put these lists to work for you.
The Reactive way: When you have a feeling arise, grab your list. After you run through “Step Zero, One, and Two” listed above, pull from the lists for “Step 3”.
Pick the thing that you know will calm you down, and let it work its magic. Then once you’re grounded, go to your second list, pick a step, and put it into action.
Or, better yet…
The Proactive Way: Work these actions from the lists in before you need them. Make grounding, being with, and releasing a part of your everyday life. This is a quick and simple addition to your day–here’s how to make it happen!
At least twice a day, factor in a couple of breaks. One break for grounding, one for releasing.
For me, this would look like making meditations and calming music part of my morning routine.
Then later in the day, scheduling a dance break or a walk outside to release any tension from the day.
Being proactive is a simple way to practice processing and releasing emotions. It’ll prepare you for moments when the waves are high and you find yourself headed to the cabinet to grab a snack.
Ready to take this exercise to the next level now?
What to do when you want to grab food instead of doing the above:
The next time that stress has you reaching for food, pause. Remember the steps we’ve done so far. Then answer this question for yourself.
Do I really want this? Where is this desire for food coming from, and what am I really hungry for right now?
If your drive for food is actually coming from an emotional place, then take a step back. Ask yourself what you really need at this moment. Then go to your handy-dandy list of supportive steps to get yourself grounded again.
Remember, you get to determine what supports you. The biggest thing is pausing and asking yourself that thing is.
So I hope that this helped! Sure, it’s not rocket science, but it will help you move through crazy times without relying on quick food fixes.
Not only that, but these tips and tricks work wonders in normal times, too! You can use these practices to bring peace and balance to your life at ANY time.
None of us can fix this worldwide crisis right now. We don’t know where it’s going, or when it will end.
BUT no matter what happens next, you CAN take charge of your life. You can create an empowered relationship with food, even now. Once you’ve done that, the more you can move into an empowered space in other areas of your life, too.
This makes all life’s slings and arrows easier to manage!
Now, one last thing–we are here for you in these times of chaos and stress.
I’ve made a special 30-day Overcome Overeating Challenge: Quarantine Edition for you! It’s geared specifically to help you take back your power with food while you’re stuck at home.
It’s a 30-day fool-proof process to get you through this turbulent time (without losing in control of food)…. AND you won’t be doing it alone!
Just imagine how you’ll feel coming out of quarantine free of overeating and feeling in your power!
Stay safe, be well, and take care of yourself! We’re on your side, and we can’t wait to support you in any way we can. Leave us a comment and share what stood out the most for you on this post, and let us know how we can support you even more!