This helpful article outlines how the virus pandemic also opens us up to a pandemic of overeating and some steps you can take to manage. Psychologist Caroline Kamau has this advice on staying structured and why you need to ensure time for sleep, exercising, socializing, and spiritual self care:
On a daily basis, Kamau emphasises the importance of structure as a way of boosting wellbeing. “It is important for people to carry on with having aroutine, to try to wake up at set times and go to sleep at certain times,” she says. “People shouldn’t be tempted to sort of have a chaotic lifestyle because of the freedom that working from home comes with.”
The good news she says is:
“Evidence suggests that working from home can improve what we call synchronicity in family eating: having mealtimes together,” Kamau says. Having three family meals a day is associated with fewer symptoms of depression – part of a chain effect between disrupted routines and depression.
Dietician Katherine Kimber has some ideas for managing your triggers including this one:
Another tool is an exercise Kimber uses with her clients to find alternatives to emotional eating. This involves writing down:
- five people you can call when you feel down (e.g. a friend)
- five ways you can relax (e.g. take a bath)
- five places you can go to calm down (e.g. to a cosy corner)
- five things you can say to yourself (e.g. “this feeling will pass”)
- five activities you can use for distraction (e.g. start a puzzle)
The aim is to understand what’s driving your craving for a chocolate bar, for example. It might not be the chocolate itself, but a desire for relaxation or a change. “If you find yourself looking for food when you know you’re not physically hungry, and you know you’re not restricting [food], then this is great information. Your body is asking you for something. So this is a good time to ask yourself, what is that?” Kimber explains.