Many have turned to comfort food and alcohol. In fact, sales of spirits and wine rose 34.1 and 30.1%, respectively, according to Nielsen data. And carb-loading and unwanted added pounds have become common topics of discussion. Can you relate to adopting a behavior that feels good in the moment, but may have unintended, unhealthy effects?
I'm finding that this year has heightened the stressors and coping behaviors that have always been there, and may now have become entrenched, unhealthy habits. If this speaks to you, you can help yourself by paying attention to what's eating at you. Curiosity, self-reflection and self-compassion can help shine a light on the triggers underneath these habits that aren't serving you so that you can let them go.
If you are struggling with overindulging or overdoing, I recommend you take a few minutes to unwind, breathe deeply, take a walk, or do yoga, for example. Then in a relaxed state, ask yourself the following questions to shine a light on what's underneath this behavior:
- What is my "why" for being healthy? Dig deep. Perhaps it's being here on this earth for your children, grandchildren or avoiding the unhealthy decline of an older relative.
- What emotions are underneath my nightly glasses of wine/extra cookies?
- What is my relationship to myself during this stressful time? When's the last time I hugged myself, forgave myself, practiced self-compassion, looked in the mirror and said "I love you"?
- How would the quality of my experience change day-to-day if I focused on self-care? What can I do today to make a difference?
- What fun, healthy, calming activities could I start now that might help me reach my wellness goals?
- How can I allow myself some freedom while not overindulging?
- How do I want to feel, at the end of the week, month, year, pandemic?--yes, there will be an end!
Take a moment to let these feelings wash over you. Write your answers on a piece of paper and tape it to your mirror or fridge as a daily reminder of how you want to live.
Months ago, with my husband home more often, papers, art projects, and dirt began to overwhelm the house. As the default housekeeper, I was scrubbing and organizing every surface in the house...DAILY. One day, I realized that this behavior had become an unhealthy habit; it wasn't providing me with any joy. It was also obsessive and an unwise use of my time. With curiosity, I asked myself, "how is this habit serving me?" I realized it was a way to feel in control in order to quell my anxiety about Covid and the political climate last year. But too much cleaning became compulsive. With massive compassion and comfort for myself (I hug myself often and highly recommend it!) I eased up on the habit using the 80/20 rule, a structure I share with clients about eating. This rule states that if you eat healthfully 80% of the time and allow flexibility in your choices 20% if the time, you're doing just fine and still doing your body a world of good. This flexibility keeps you on track without rigidity. Now, relying on one planned day of cleaning gives me the peace of mind that it will get done, that I'll have a boost of calming hormones on those days, and that I'm more balanced with my time.
The keys to coping during this time period, like all others, is curiosity, personal reflection, self-compassion and balance.
Easy, Stress-Free Nut Butter Acai Bowl
Treat yourself to this phytonutrient-rich bowl of plant-based foods. It's a good substitute for a smoothie, especially as the days get warmer.
1 frozen acai pack (I get mine at Trader Joe's.)
1 heaping T of nut butter (Peanut or almond butter work well.)
Handful of fresh spinach, optional
2 T unsweetened shredded coconut
2 T hemp seed
1 T chia seed
1 T cacao nibs
Blueberries or berries of choice
In a high-powered blender, combine frozen acai pack with nut butter, peeled banana and spinach if using. Blend until smooth and creamy using a pusher or occasional spatula to push contents down toward blades. Pour into bowl.
Toast coconut in a saute pan over medium heat, stirring often until just lightly golden brown. Top acai mixture with coconut, seeds, nibs and berries in rows. Enjoy!