The holidays are upon us. Santas are ringing their bells on street corners, decorations are up in store windows, and holiday tunes seem to play from every speaker in town.
If these images bring more anxiety than feelings of joy and merryment, then you are not alone. The American Psychological Association reports that over three-fourths of all Americans experience higher than healthy levels of stress, and these statistics skyrocket even higher during the holiday season.December brings with it social obligations, visiting family, disruptions from your regular routine—and how to afford all of those gifts?
It is easy to cope with these stresses by turning to food, which happens to be overly abundant this time of year. Try these tips from mindful eating to help manage emotional eating this holiday season:
1. Check in with yourself before you eat. Are you hungry? If not, what are you experiencing? If you notice that you have the desire to eat because of an emotion (i.e., sadness, anger, boredom, loneliness, etc.), try to identify what you are feeling and do something that more directly addresses the feeling. For example, if you have the desire to eat because you feel sad, try calling a comforting friend or listening to your favorite music rather than eating a pint of ice cream. Eating the ice cream may result in temporary relief of sadness while it's going down, but you’ll usually only feel worse after you eat it. You’ll end up with two problems instead of one: the original sadness plus the feelings from having overeaten.