Has being housebound for weeks on end and dealing with all the uncertainties of these unprecedented times caused you to over eat or over drink?
You’ve got company.
It’s a thing: The Quarantine 15 (as in weight gain).
Consider the Quarantine 15 as a cousin to the Freshman 15.
Perhaps anxiety is thrumming in the background at a low level hum. Or rearing up on it’s hind legs and blasting you with a deafening roar.
Whatever the case, turning to food or alcohol for comfort or relief probably seems like the best idea ever.
Who doesn’t think she deserves a few moments, minutes or hours of distraction or pleasure after another day caught in the vise grip of Covid 19 restrictions and losses?
Yes, we all need a break from the 24/7 news cycle that is crushing our spirit and sending us into a tailspin.
We do need comfort as our stomachs lurch backwards and forwards while we watch the stock market pummel our life’s savings.
Working from home without adequate support? Laid off? Furloughed? Finding your business is, at best, a slow trickle of clients and projects?
Well who wouldn’t feel anxious and unsettled and in need of something just to “take the edge off”?
Comfort foods, candy, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, pinot noir, scotch, it sounds awfully appealing to pick a favorite to cap off a day filled with stress. Which even seem to get more intense as the weeks wear on.
Losing sources of comfort and connection in the midst of the pandemic, what’s left?
During the endless days of quarantine, turning to food and alcohol seems like our only choice when we crave relief.
While some of us actually enjoy cooking and find it calming and centering, others have gratefully depended upon restaurants and take out to provide sustenance.
And for those of us who are using takeout now more than ever, some choices may lean more toward comfort foods and treats we’d ordinary pass by.
Our social world has been turned upside down. Previously dependable options for entertainment or distraction are foreclosed to us for the foreseeable future.
- Socializing with family, friends or colleagues
- Movies, concerts, theater and sporting events
- Parties, celebrations, rites of passage
- Coffee bars
- Religious services and events
Our social world has contracted in ways we could never have imagined. Seemingly overnight.
Besides TV and the internet, eating and drinking offer serious entertainment value.
Nevertheless, we are an adaptable species. We’ve figured out how to learn, socialize, do business, exercise and find pleasure in spite of almost universal lock down.
But the reality remains, since we are social distancing and confined to our homes, meals are fast becoming the only dependable highlight of the day.
Alcohol, desserts and small indulgences, hello box of chocolates on hold in the back of the pantry for emergency use only, lure us in with the promise of relief.
We may even crave that dopamine hit from sugar to bring us the pleasure during a very tough day.
We may be quick to answer these urges and cravings with the age old assertion, “I deserve this.”
Gaining the Quarantine 15 is not a given if you allow your negative emotions to be present without buffering against them with food or alcohol.
Buffering against frightening or unsettling emotions often involves food and drink. For the moment, it helps us hold them at bay.
But, it’s just a bandaid on a wound, not the treatment needed to heal it.
Over eating and over drinking are easy, often well-practiced, go-to behaviors when we’re not allowing ourselves to be present with our deepest anxieties and feelings.
Emotions we resist persist.
Only by allowing ourselves to experience negative emotions can you emerge on the other side of them without the undertow increasing its pull and intensifying your discomfort.
Allowing them includes naming them, welcoming them in, and sitting with the anxiety or restlessness they bring.
Ask yourself, where do you feel the emotion in your body?
What color or shape is the emotion?
Permit yourself to gain perspective, to stand back, as an observer or watcher.
Allow the difficult feelings to move through your body. Watch them as you watch the waves roll in along the shore.
Give yourself a solid 10 minutes to allow all the fears and anxieties to surface.
This is not the time to criticize or berate yourself for wanting comfort with food and alcohol.
Comfort yourself with words, as a mother would an upset child.
It’s the time for soothing and reassuring yourself that you will get through this.
Plan what you will eat and drink 24 hours in advance.
Give yourself a break from decision making and vacillating over the should I or shouldn’t I question when it comes to what you will eat and drink.
Reducing decision-making in advance reduces the build up of tension from having to make too many decisions in the course of a day.
You decide what foods fuel your body. Eat those first. Add in the treats you want, but pick them out in advance.
Decide your menu 24-hours in advance. Boom. Done.
Have your back. Follow your plan.
Only eat and drink what you have decided you will, whatever that may be.
Do you need help dealing with your fears and anxieties?
Do you want to develop an eating and drinking plan that you can live with?
Let me know right here you’re ready for your free, no-strings attached strategy call.
You can squash the Quarantine 15 before they even have a chance to accumulate.