Tips on Reducing Stress without Food

For many people, relying on food and eating as a form of stress relief is a common practice. This is often called emotional eating and it can look different for everyone, but some typical characteristics include:

  • Hunger that is sudden and urgent.
  • Specific food cravings, typically for those comfort foods.
  • Hunger paired with negative emotions like anger, frustration, stress, sadness, etc.
  • Eating unconsciously and unaware of how much you are eating.
  • Choosing to continue eating even if feeling full.

If any of these characteristics sound familiar, you may have experienced some emotional eating at one point or another. But don’t worry! We have a few tips to help you find ways to reduce your stress and anxiety, without relying on food.

  1. Practice mindful eating. As you’re enjoying a meal or a snack, check in with yourself. Focus on the food and how it’s tasting/feeling. Is it satisfying your hunger or craving? Are you feeling full? What other emotions are you feeling?
  2. Find another outlet to relieve these emotions. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Consider reading, gardening, listening to or playing music, yoga or meditation, taking walks, crafting, etc. Anything that you know you enjoy and can relax you is a perfect way to get some relief from your stress and other negative emotions.

At Operation Food Search, we participate in Wellness Wednesday activities each week to better improve our overall health. Last week, we decorated and potted succulents! It was a quick and easy activity that provided a great mid-day mental break. Want to try this at home? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Acrylic paint of any color variety with paint brushes
  • Terracotta pots
  • Succulents
  • Potting soil and spoons

Paint/decorate your pot to whatever your creative heart desires! After paint dries, put a small spoonful of potting soil at bottom of pot. Gently squeeze side of succulent to remove from container and transfer to new pot. Push soil down and add more as needed. Water every few weeks or once the soil is completely dried out. Place in a sunny spot and enjoy your new green friend!

What other methods do you use to relieve stress?

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