Many people may find themselves emotionally eating during this pandemic, more so than normal. I am hoping that this post might help you understand why we emotionally eat and provide tips to help you avoid eating through your emotions.
Eating prompts the brain the release some happy hormones called endorphins. So, because you are ‘bored’ and not getting endorphins from anywhere else, it’s natural to want to eat a lot in this quarantine as it’s the ‘only time’ you’re getting these hormones. When you were back in your old routine life you were actually receiving pleasure hormones all the time. When you finish a task at work, when you go to the gym, when you see your friends. You were receiving pleasure hormones on all different times of the day so food wasn’t really thought about as much as it is now.
In order to stop the binges, we need to set up other ways to receive pleasure hormones. Set yourself small tasks throughout the day to spike your pleasure centres. Start with small tasks you can be sure to complete, even write it down and tick it off when you’re down. The tick itself can be pleasurable. Some people use whiteboards. It’s proved to be very effective. I must emphasis the importance of giving your day a meaning, before, when you were at work, you had a meaning. So now you must find meaning in your isolation, meaning can give you a constant drip of pleasure, activities so small such as making sure you make someone laugh today can reduce anxiety.
Here are a few activities you can do to get your pleasure hormones going;
- Read ten pages of a book
- Write a little blog and complete it
- Meditate – even just for 5 minutes will give you a sense of accomplishment
- Write schedules or make posters on canvas
- Creating art or music or even complete a colouring page
- Finishing a puzzle
- Do an online course
- Go for a run and try to beat your time each day
- Exercise of any sort and improving on it each day
- Learn something new (I watch a ted talk every day to learn something new!)
If you are feeling down on a regular basis, or feel like you are stuck in a rut that you just cannot get out of, it is worth speaking to someone about how you are feeling. Reach out, do not suffer alone & remember…
“It’s Okay not to be Okay & It’s absolutely Okay to ask for help!”
The article is written by Leanne, Trainee Counsellor at The DMC Clinic. If you would like to discuss how any of the topics mentioned above are impacting your mental health, please contact The DMC Clinic to arrange an appointment.