Stress and food
Sunday, October 20, 2019
I eat, not when I'm stressed out, but as a means to relieve myself from stress: to help me feel better.
The two are quite oddly connected - I'm stressed and anxious, so I eat because it feels like a means to help me have a quick relax from the stressful and anxious situation.
It can also be connected to an escape. I can escape to the kitchen to get the snack, or escape to the coffee shop to get the hot chocolate. So, it's an excuse to get away for a minute, or ten.
And, it is pleasurable. Something small and quick, but really enjoyable for me. I can stop an enjoy the chocolate, or the hot chocolate. Rather than feeling stressed or anxious I can experience a pleasurable emotion.
So, if I took away the food part: to take a break from a stressful situation, I need to go to a difference space, and, I need something pleasurable. And it needs to be small and quick. What would that look like for me?
There are outdoor spaces I can go to at work. At home, I could go outside. I remember having a colleague who had created this beautiful garden pond that she went to to escape. I could try something like that at home. Or even a small space in the house where I can do that. Currently, that space is where I am typing this blog right now, in a corner in the kitchen! But, it needs to be outside the kitchen. Somewhere in the lounge, I'm thinking. Or our spare room. In fact, the spare room could be a good option for this. I could try going to the spare room and lighting a fragrance candle. That's worth trying. I know the 'escape' needs to be tactile, rather than mental - so something I can smell, hear, see, or touch.
Something I keep in my coat pocket is a small stone that my son gave me. When I'm walking around, I find it immensely comforting to slip my hand in my pocket and run the stone through my fingers. Perhaps a bowl with stones, to touch and feel could help.
So, at home: Go to the spare room, light a candle, possibly, play with a bowl of stones. Let me try that.
At work: Going to the library is another option for leaving my office. So, I can say I need to get something from the library, rather, than I need to get a hot drink. That way, I get to go outside for a walk, with a clear destination in mind. But then, what to do once I'm there? Perhaps go to a bookshelf and read one paragraph from a random book? Or go to the top floor and sit and look out at the view? I have to work out the tactile side of this - that also does not look odd in a library! Also, the library is associated with work, rather than pleasure (although I do love going through the books!).
I guess there is also the option of herbal tea from the coffee shop. I could look into that, as I'm not sure if they serve those items. I don't always find herbal tea as wonderful as a nice flavoured, coffee, though, so the temptation for the other might be too strong. Equally, I could make sure I stick with a skinny cappucino. I've been slipping into hot chocolate, just recently...
Yeah, so I think it's not the stress itself that causes me to eat, it's the need to relieve myself from stress. I need to work out the alternatives that bring me as much excitement as the sweet treats.
Just thinking, how, at the office in the afternoon I will also snack while I'm working. I'll go get the coffee and the snack and head back to the office to work and eat. It's something to do with encouraging myself to keep going with the research-based side of my work. I'm wondering if having stones, or something for my hands to play with while I'm working might help? A stress ball type of thing? Just realising how quickly those snacks get eaten, actually. They're gone before I even realise. In a way, I just need something that brings me into awareness of how I am feeling.
So, these are my thoughts. I"d like to try and dig a bit deeper into my mental health, right now. Try and make some bigger changes, than just my eating habits.