mental health and eating

Changing Your Mindset To Reduce Stress-Induced Emotional Eating

The current COVID-19 pandemic has increased the anxiety levels of most people, including those people who are hardly anxious in normal times. Many people always use hanging out with family and friends as a strategy to cope with anxiety. With the new stay at home directives, you can no longer hang out with friends or even family. This has resulted in people resorting to emotional eating to cope with their anxiety.

Food as a stress reliever

Other than eating food to survive, you also eat to relax and activate your brain’s reward centre. Eating junk food always creates a "feel-good" response; this helps to ease your stress and improve your mood even if it is temporary.

It is also possible to get drawn into eating some of your favourite foods so associate with a positive memory and good feelings. With the COVID-19 caused anxiety, it is possible to find yourself having more of the sweet foods without necessarily having a healthy diet.

stress eating

One way by which you can deal with this situation is by having a positive mentality and focusing on what best you can do in such a situation.

Have a schedule

Having a routine that is more or less similar to your normal routine could make things more comfortable. It is good to try and ensure that you sleep and wake up as normal, have your meals at the same time you always have them. Carrying on with your normalcy will be of great help, even in the future. Having regular meals will help you avoid overeating, which may result from being extremely hungry. You must carry out your gym routine as always. You could incorporate some simple exercises such as walking around the house or even jogging.

Keep digital company

Feeling lonely can negatively impact on emotional eating struggles.  Due to the shame that comes with it, many people often find themselves eating alone. The less you get to interact, the more you get to eat foods that are considered forbidden. This will make you feel more guilty and distant from others.

You can change this perception by ensuring that you engage more with your family through cooking healthy foods that you would probably not have had the time to share during normal times. This will help shift your attention away from negativity and ease your stress while promoting a culture of connectedness.

It is also during this time that you can try different recipes that add different tastes and flavours to your food. Chance is that you could be living alone, and you don't have someone to physically share the moment with. The best idea is to engage with your friends through virtual platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, social media, or even through your phone.

Plan for success

It is possible that during this time of crisis, your mind might be occupied with the current pandemic situation. It is, however, important that you make a plan even if just for the meals. Following a healthy eating habit is one essential way of achieving success. You could try and change your mentality and make planning for the food you eat a priority. This will in return, help you get control of the current stressful period.

Keep a positive mindset

Developing a positive mindset can be crucial in dealing with the current situation. Engaging in positive conversations other than the COVID-19 issue and food activities is one way of changing your mindset and managing the stress.  You could try following online professional training such as yoga and dance classes. Generally, it is good to ensure that you maintain your physical and mental health during this period.

If you’ve found this helpful, please share. And if you have any further questions, please let me know below and I or one of my team will do our best to provide you with answers.


Jamie Wood, Founder & CEO