We live in a society where being busy is a badge of honour and associated with determination, success and popularity. It’s something most of us have adjusted to or at least accepted as a reality. And there are many reasons why we’re so busy - juggling careers, work, family, school and trying to have it all.
Being busy for short periods of time is absolutely normal and won’t be detrimental to your health (in fact, there’s a sweet spot where a moderate amount of stress actually makes us more alert and enhances our performance!). But, when ‘busyness’ defines our entire lifestyle, it can cause more harm than good, especially when it comes to emotional eating.
Let’s look at how being busy affects our eating habits and emotional health.
Here’s what a constantly “busy” lifestyle leads to:
· Mindless Eating
· Eating on-the-go
· No time for self-care
· Lack of boundaries
· Less quality time with loved ones
· No time for self-reflection, being alone or processing your emotions
· Ignoring symptoms and avoiding your problems
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? I know for years this is what my life looked like and even now, I sometimes struggle to slow down. It’s unrealistic and virtually impossible to say goodbye to deadlines, stress, and fast-paced living altogether, but let’s find a healthy balance!
Here are some things I suggest you try to incorporate and prioritize – so that even when your life is busy, you can make time for these things. When we prioritize our well-being, we are better equipped to manage stress and emotional eating.
1. Mindful Eating instead of Eating On-the-Go
Eating with mindfulness means being present, eating slowly and being fully aware during your entire experience with your food. The opposite of mindful eating is emotional eating. Think of a time you over-ate. Were you paying attention to and enjoying the scent, look and taste of the food in front of you? Or were you shoveling it in until you felt sick? Even if your life is fast-paced, slow down when you eat! This will help to prevent overeating and improve your relationship with food. Food is meant to be enjoyed – so slow down and savor it!
2. Prioritizing Self-Care instead of Putting Yourself Last
When we’re busy, self-care goes out the window. Who has time to read for pleasure, go for a walk, laugh with friends or focus on hobbies when you have a massive to-do list every day? But Self-Care is SO important for emotional eating and you NEED to make it a priority if you want to manage your emotional eating. Instead of putting yourself last (as we so often do), prioritize your well-being and make Self-Care mandatory in your routine. You’ll be grateful when you’ve taken a few minutes to slow down and give your body, or mind, what it needs. Even simple acts of self-care can bring us into the present moment and ease stress.
3. Setting Healthy Boundaries to Preserve Your Time and Energy
Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin, exhausted or overwhelmed because you’ve said “yes” to someone (or something) when you should’ve said “no”? Setting boundaries is very important for your well-being and should be a non-negotiable regardless of how busy you are. Healthy boundaries may include not checking your work email over the weekend, having a set bedtime, avoiding toxic people, and learning to say no. What healthy boundaries do you need to set to ensure you have time and energy for yourself?
4. Take Time to Self-Reflect Instead of Self-Sabotage
One reason why many people like to be busy is because it distracts them for the bad stuff going on in their life. Whether its avoiding uncomfortable feelings or trying to forget about a stressful life event, we may use our busy lifestyle to self-sabotage and prevent healing. Instead, we need to set time to sit with our feelings, process our emotions and digest life events. This is how we manage emotional eating – by taking time to self-reflect and sit with our feelings. Make sure you set aside time regularly to either journal, meditate upon or talk to someone you trust about things going on in your life. Processing and reflecting upon your feelings, instead of suppressing them, is vital for managing emotional eating.
While some people may take pride in being busy, ask yourself why you’re so busy and what you can do to change that. Do you need to set healthy boundaries? Do you need to slow down your eating and make time for self-care? What area of your life do you need to give more attention to?
Your emotional eating will continue to exist if you ignore the symptoms and distract yourself by being busy. To manage your emotional eating, let’s try something new – let’s slow down!