By Dr Chung Wan Ling
The running sentiment is that 2020 seems to have been cancelled, with travel, work, play & school put on hold. The last few months have indeed been stressful for many & it gets so easy to reach out for snacks to deal with that stress and cabin fever. Try as we might to keep the snacks healthy with nuts and fruits, there are times when we cave in to that bake, chocolate or chips. Then we get too full for a proper meal or skip a meal to “even out the calories” but just get hungry again later on to repeat the whole cycle.
So how can we combat all this stress-eating?
1. Breathe, hydrate & walk
Remind ourselves that we aren’t really hungry and we just need a break.
Take a few deep breaths, slowly (count to three per breath), ideally at a window, so that we can feel the fresh rush of air.
Drink a glass of water, perhaps with a lemon slice, to refresh our senses, as dehydration leads to fatigue.
Walk about from room to room or step out, even if it’s just to the lift lobby downstairs, for a change in environment. This gets the blood pumping and we will instantly feel better and forget that craving.
2. Sleep more, sleep early
PRIORITIZE SLEEP. Insufficient sleep makes us cranky and upsets our gut system. Lack of sleep and sleeping late increases our stress hormone cortisol which increases our lower belly fat and bloating. It’s difficult for accustomed night owls to hit the sack early all of a sudden, so accommodate by sleeping earlier 10 minutes each day to slowly bring forward bedtime to before 11 pm.
3. Create a positive work environment
Whether it’s work-from-home or not, create a positive work environment by keeping our work station tidy. If resources permit, indulge in music or aromatherapy to calm the senses. Even if kids are running amok behind us, at least our auditory and olfactory nerves are soothed. A lemongrass-eucalyptus-bergamot essential oil blend is uplifting and clears the respiratory tracts.
Sitting still for hours on end is not everyone’s cup of tea, but you don’t need that to meditate. It can be cooking, gardening, knitting, doodling, building toy sets or even just taking green walks. Remember, our form of meditation need not be the same as any other person’s. It’s our safe zone of comfort for our relaxation.
Take a deeper look into the roots of our stress and talk it out. Can our partner or family member, colleague or boss help out? If it’s difficult to talk specifically to address the stress, vent the stress to a third party. A listening ear of a friend can be all it takes to bring clarity to an issue and take the stress down by a notch or two.
If you really must snack, how about trying from our own go-to list for guilt-free snacks: