Since the pandemic began, there has been a collective weight in the world. Do you feel it? You may be feeling that weight in your chest, the heavy tension in your shoulders or heart, the sadness in your eyes and perhaps it is even showing up as body fat and you have gained “COVID-19.”
The stress, uncertainty, fear, anger, polarities and tensions with friends, family and co-workers take its toll. Values being challenged, restrictions, freedoms being taken away, lockdowns, fire breaks, openings, closings, masks on, masks off, depression, anxiety, disbelief – this all has an impact. It affects us collectively and it no doubt influences our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
For many these stresses can often be expressed through emotional eating. Throughout the pandemic I have heard endless accounts of people saying they are stress eating, binge eating, eating out of boredom and even eating for joy and pleasure when so many joys and freedoms have been restricted. There is a purpose for what we crave and the foods we turn to when we want to alter our mood state and feel better about life. We often crave salty snacks like chips, crackers, popcorn and pretzels to ease our tension and worry. Our adrenal glands – the glands that help us handle stress – are sodium dependent , so when they are overtaxed and constantly living in flight or ‘fright’ mode, which we have been feeling daily for 18 months, it is normal to crave salty food to provide the adrenals some needed fuel to function and keep going.
When feeling depressed and need comfort we can often turn to serotonin boosting foods, such as bread, pasta and pastries, to help us feel happy. We can even crave chocolate for the much needed magnesium that can help us relax when feeling anxious and stressed.
Chocolate also contains Phenylethylamine and when consumed, it releases endorphins in your brain that produce a mild feeling of euphoria, mimicking the sensation of being in love, and for those whose relationships are strained as a result of the pandemic, there may be a lot more chocolate bingeing going on. Nuts and nut butters are often overeaten when we feel the need for more fun. Excess caffeine has also been overconsumed for the desperate need to excite, stimulate and energize when feeling stuck, bored and mundane.
For others the emotional rollercoaster is felt in the body through aches, pains, fatigue, apathy, insomnia, indigestion, irritable bowels and so much more. Our body gives us physical feedback through symptoms to let us know when something is not right in our lives. Weight gain can also occur when life feels heavy. You may notice that you are carrying extra weight or holding on to body fat that you can’t shed despite your best nutritional and exercise intensions. This weight may be symbolic weight. The heaviness you feel in the world may be the heaviness that you are carrying in your body.
How do we release it? How do we shed this collective weight, ease the symptoms and regulate emotional eating? I think we first have to acknowledge how we are feeling, truly own it and express it. We need to give ourselves permission to feel the absolute chaos of the world we have been living in for 18 + months. It is real. It is raw and you are not alone in it. We are all connected and we have shared a collective experience. Although we may all express that experience differently, we have all been impacted. Perhaps just acknowledging this truth and letting ourselves feel and express this collective weight, can we begin to feel lighter and heal. We need to give our body a serious dose of love, compassion and care so we can shed the heaviness, release the tensions felt deeply in the body, regulate our eating and begin the process of letting go.
If you are feeling you could use some support right now, I am here to help. Perhaps a conversation, consultation, support in getting your eating back on path, some essential oil support to gently work through some emotions and help to ease symptoms or an Aromatouch to reduce stress, tension and worry, I am here, so please reach out if you need