How to stop stress eating when you’re stuck at home
Working remotely can come with some perks, such as staying in your pajamas or hanging out with your cat all day. But it’s easy to let healthy habits slide while being stuck at home, especially with higher-than-usual stress levels given the uncertainty of COVID-19.
“It’s natural to seek an instant distraction that mindless snacking can provide, especially when there’s extra stress with trying to work while the kids are home from school,” Dr. Maryana Yevtukh, a family medicine doctor at Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha, WI, says.
While it’s tempting to binge eat bags of potato chips, Dr. Yevtukh notes it’s possible to eat healthy even if you’re stuck at home. Here are some tips on how to get back on the healthy eating track.
Stick to a routine: Think of the healthy habits that are instilled into your regular working routine and try to incorporate those into your home life. For example, if you normally keep healthy snacks in your desk, keep a bin with those same snacks near your computer at home.
Practice mindful eating: Before reaching for another snack, do a quick check in to see how you’re feeling — bored, anxious or hungry. Keeping in touch with your emotions can help you navigate triggers for mindless snacking.
Look for healthy alternatives to junk food: If your potato chip consumption is off the charts, swap them out with sweet potato chips or kale chips. Got a sweet tooth? Dark chocolate is a source of antioxidants.
Find other ways to relief stress: Instead of reaching for a second (or third) brownie, try deep breathing exercises or a yoga session in the living room to alleviate your stress. If you haven’t already, make a point to get outside for a daily walk or jog around your neighborhood. Not only does exercise help reduce stress, but the change of scenery is good for you mentally too. Just remember to practice social distancing.
Prevent boredom: Now is the time to tackle all those projects you’ve been waiting to do “someday.” You can swap stress eating when bored by learning new skills, decluttering the basement or trying a new hobby.
About the Author
Vicki Martinka Petersen, health enews contributor, is a digital copywriter on the content team at Advocate Aurora Health. A former newspaper reporter, she’s worked in health care communications for the last decade. In her spare time, Vicki enjoys tackling her to be read pile, trying new recipes, meditating, and planning fun activities to do in the Chicago area with her husband and son.