Stress Eating in Quarantine

Stress Eating in Quarantine
May 13, 2020 Marisa Michael

Stress eating in quarantine

It’s day fourteen twenty hundred of quarantine, and all the snacks are gone!

At least, that’s what it seems like.

Eating out of stress, boredom, loneliness, or emotion is a common theme lately. Here are some ways to cope with stress without eating your precious food supply.

  • Create a schedule, structure, or routine for yourself and your household. This brings a sense of normalcy and sets expectations. It can reduce sense of feeling out of control.
  • Find ways to serve and help others. This can happen even with social distancing. Donate to a charity. Send a friendly text. Sew a mask for a friend.
  • Make mindful choices about food. One study found that when people planned ahead for emotional eating (“When I am stressed I am going to choose an apple.”) they made more healthful choices.
  • It’s ok to emotionally eat. If the ice cream really hits the spot and that’s what you’re craving, go ahead and give yourself permission to eat it. Notice if it worked. Did you feel satisfied? Did it soothe you? Emotional eating only becomes problematic if it’s the ONLY coping mechanism you have.

Other things to ask yourself:

“If this weren’t about food, what would it be about?”

“What do I need right now?”

“What am I feeling right now?”

“What can I do for myself to make me feel a little better?”

Other activities to ride out the emotion:

  • Read a book
  • Watch a show
  • Listen to music or a podcast
  • Exercise
  • Take a slow walk
  • Sit with the emotion. Let it “metabolize.”
  • Reach out to a friend or family member
  • Journal about it
  • Change the sensory experience: smell a pleasant odor, splash cold water on your face, wiggle your toes, breath deeply.
Online resources: NAMI–The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. They have a lot of resources for patients and families
This is the website for the Clackamas County Behavioral Health Division  Good website for young adults/adolescents about depression
NIMH (National Institute for Mental Health) website with info on depression Depression quiz~Thank you to Jessica Horey for compiling this list