We have too much on our plate.
We get stressed.
We get overwhelmed.
I am a sucker for feeling overwhelmed. The feeling seems to sneakily creep in way more often than I’d prefer. I feel anxious, tense and tight in the chest.
My method for coping in the past was to temporarily escape into a world of sugary, pink iced cupcakes. But that didn’t do much good. Once I was done eating my overwhelm was still there. I hadn’t actually dealt with it, just briefly numbed it. After the last bite I was back to feeling overwhelmed. Only now it felt 10 times worse. On top of my overwhelm was a tonne of guilt.
Emotional eating and binge eating are coping mechanisms. Food helps you numb out. We are humans. We are emotional. We will inevitably emotionally eat. That’s OK.
But if using food to numb out or find relief is your only coping mechanism, you might not be feeling so great.
Below are 11 powerful things I do (that aren’t related to food) to help cope with overwhelm. I use them as prevention and also when I’m in the thick of feeling overwhelmed.
Rather than trying to control and force yourself to stop emotional eating, try adding these different coping mechanisms into your life. That way you’ll have different techniques already practised so you are not solely relying on food for relief. And even if you do still emotionally eat, that’s ok. Keep practising these new ways relieve stress and overwhelm. Practise practise practise.
1. Count your breath
Breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4. Breathe out 1, 2, 3, 4.
Counting your breath helps you drop back into the present moment and back into your body. Often we are so in our heads. Worrying about the future, that thing you need to do next week and tomorrow and on the weekend. Count your breath and come back to the present.
Get moving! Move your body in a way you love and that is enjoyable to you. Getting the endorphins pumping does wonders for stress.
3. Get in nature
My favourite way to get grounded and bring stress levels down. Get outside, take your shoes off and plant your feet in the ground. Let mother nature take care of the rest.
I often experience a lot of resistance around meditation. But the more regularly I do it, the best I can manage overwhelm.
I am loving Melissa Ambrosini’s guided meditations at the moment. Especially Series Two.
5. Get creative
Get your creative juices flowing! Paint, draw, colour in, write… just create.
6. Stay away from caffeine
Some people can handle caffeine better than others. As soon as I have any I feel jittery and on edge. Throw in a stressful situation and literally can’t handle it! If you can tolerate caffeine, awesome. If you have an inkling it might be bringing on some overwhelm and anxiousness, try cutting it out.
7. Take a technology and social media break
Social media overwhelm much?! Social media can get really overwhelming. So many videos to watch, articles to read, people’s lives to check out. Take regular technology and social media breaks.
And don’t check your phone first thing in the morning! I know it’s easier said than done, but practise setting yourself up for your day (whatever that looks like for you) before reaching for your phone.
When was the last time you played? Letting you inner child run loose is the perfect antidote for taking life too seriously (which is so easily done). How can you add more play into your life? (This is an awesome place to play.)
What’s behind the overwhelm? Grab a pen and paper and write your heart out. Don’t think too hard just write. The clarity you will discover will make it feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
10. Use affirmations
When my monkey mind gets out of control I like to break the thought pattern with affirmations. Below are my favourites:
“All is well in my world.”
“Today I choose joy”
“This too shall pass”
11. Lie down with your legs up against the wall
One of my favourites! (I have a lot of favourites.) Lay down on your back and put your legs up against the wall at a right angle. Breathe and relax. This is super restorative and helps calm your nervous system.
Have you got any to add to the list? Let us all know in the comments below.
P.S If you would like to dive deeper and receive one-on-one guidance around your relationship with food, click here for a free 30 minute discovery session and to find out how you can work with me.