The new year is just around the corner, and while December brings a whirlwind of festivities and events, January is a time to slow down and set new intentions. One resolution I’d suggest you set for 2018 is to practice more self-care.
At the foundation of managing emotional eating is self-care. When we don’t practice self-care, we are more prone to stress, anxiety, overeating, binge eating, and having negative body image. In contrast, when we prioritize our well-being, it is easier to achieve balance in our lives and thus, manage emotional eating.
Research has shown that achieving big goals is accomplished by setting smaller, more-attainable goals. In other words, baby steps! Here are five small steps you can take this year towards better self-care:
1.Eliminate unnecessary stress
While living stress-free is not a realistic goal, you should aim to eliminate as much unnecessary stress as possible. To do this, you must first identify your stressors. What is draining your energy? Social media? People? Your lack of boundaries or inability to say “no”? Perhaps you need to part ways with the things or people adding to your stress. Don’t feel guilty for letting go of anything that no longer serves you. Simplify your life and you will feel a heavy weight be lifted off your shoulders!
2.Add in more pleasure
Make time to do the things that make you happy. You shouldn't feel guilty about making choices that cater to your happiness instead of someone else's. Invest in yourself and reduce the effects of stress by adding more pleasure into your life. Whether it’s arts and crafts, dancing, yoga, reading or traveling, make time for the activities that energize you and bring you joy.
Journaling is a powerful tool for emotional eating and well-being. Writing about stressful events, for example, helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors and the negative emotions they may trigger. Another benefit to journaling is the opportunity to express gratitude. According to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, stopping to list what you're grateful for just once a week can help you feel more optimistic and better about life!
4.Nurture Healthy Relationships
Having social connections is important for our emotional well-being. Having healthy relationships provides us with love, support and confidence. To build strong relationships, you need to nurture them. Different friends can provide different things – laughter and fun, emotional support, intellectual stimulation, or even intimacy. Make it a priority to connect with close friends or family once a week – whether it’s a phone call, email, or date!
5. Mindful Eating
Slow down! When we eat too quickly and mindlessly, we tend to overeat. This is because our brain gets the signal too late (or not at all!) that we’re satisfied with our food. Set an intention to eat all your meals sitting down and distraction-free (no smartphone or TV). Take the opportunity to pay attention to what you’re eating – engage all 5 senses. When you slow down the eating process, you will feel more satisfied, prevent overeating and improve your digestion.
This year, put your health and happiness first with these 5 intentions! By practicing more self-care, you will be better equipped to manage stress and emotional eating.