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6 Tips to avoid stress eating when social distancing

The weight of pandemic and being cooped up at home can take a toll on one’s mental health. As the anxiety mounts and the ability to leave the house is limited, one can easily turn to food for comfort.

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Photo by Helena Lopes from Unsplash.com

It’s no secret that social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak can bring stress with it. The weight of pandemic and being cooped up at home can take a toll on one’s mental health. As the anxiety mounts and the ability to leave the house is limited, one can easily turn to food for comfort.

While we may joke and post memes online about eating all day when being forced to stay inside, emotional eating can negatively affect your health – both physically and mentally.

With a 24-hour news cycle that can be easily overwhelm a person, trying to limit your snacking habits and curb overeating can be extremely difficult. This is especially true when you are working from home and in close quarters with your pantry.

While it may be hard to avoid snacking just to snack or looking to junk food to cope with COVID-19 fears, it can be done.

Joyce A. Corsica, PhD, director of outpatient psychotherapy and director of bariatric psychology at Rush and Mackenzie Kelly, PhD, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Rush, shared six tips to avoid emotional eating during social distancing.

Tip 1: Structure your day

One of the main reasons people end up overeating when at home is the lack of structure in one’s day. Social distancing will more than likely throw your day to day routine out wack.

Having a set schedule and sticking to it will help you avoid aimlessly wandering into the kitchen for an unneeded snack or meal.

“Include chunks of time for work, relaxation/exercise, eating, and communication with others,” Corsica suggests. “If you have an outline planned, you are less likely to feel like the day is a big empty space which can make you feel rudderless and may lead to overeating.”

Tip 2: Keep it healthy and prep your meals

Both Kelly and Corsica said meal prepping was a great way to curb unwanted snacking.

“Plan out your meals and snacks at the beginning of the day,” Kelly said. “If you wait until you’re hungry to decide what you’re going to eat, you may end up eating more or choosing something higher in calories than if you had planned your meal and snacks in advance.”

Corsica added that you can even add snacks to your meal plan. Knowing that you have a healthy snack in the lineup can stop you from eating too much in between meals.

Along with prepping your meals, making sure you are still eating healthy is also important. While it may be convenient to buy processed foods, these types of foods make it easier for one to overeat. Do your best to buy healthy options when you have the chance.

“If you have access to processed foods, they can cause you to lose control over what and how much you eat, consider removing them from the house,” Corsica said. “At the very least, make them harder to access.”

Tip 3: Avoid boredom cravings

When one is bored, the easiest thing to do is fill that time with food. When you are stuck in the house with no intentions of leaving for a while, the boredom can really ramp up. When this boredom ramps up, your desire to continually eat can rise as well.

The best way to stay away from boredom cravings? Keep yourself busy!

“If you feel stuck, bored, lost, or frustrated, try to understand and label the feeling and then decide what you can do about it,” Corsica suggests. “That might be finding a smaller task to work on, changing tasks entirely, taking a break, or checking in with a colleague.”

To keep yourself busy, try switching things up. Don’t just binge watch Netflix for 12 hours straight, but rather watch TV for a while then work on a puzzle or read book, maybe put your knowledge to the test with a few brain games. If you’re working from home, make sure to take breaks.

Photo credit: @vmxhu

Tip 4: Keep your em’ separate

In other words, your bedroom should not act as your dining room. Having a separate space to eat and drawing the line saying food should not be in your sleeping quarters is a great way to curb late snacking and overeating.

“Designate one place in your home as the place where you will eat and try to keep your work and relaxation spaces in your home separate from where you eat,” Kelly suggests.

The ideal living situation is limiting all eating to your kitchen area. This can prove difficult for people who are now working from home and may be using their kitchen table as a desk. If you are working at the kitchen table, consider moving to another chair when it’s time to eat.

Other techniques to put into place include avoiding eating and working at the same time. When it comes to TV on the couch and decide you want something to eat: you should get up, eat in the kitchen, and then return to the couch when you are done.

Tip 5: Look for other ways to manage your stress

If you have the news on or are frequently checking your phone for updates or social media posts, this may be contributing to your stress. Try changing the channel, turning off the TV, or putting your phone down. You can always check in later to learn of any updates.

If you are feeling stressed or anxious, look for other ways to address your emotions. Try calling a friend or family members, clean out a closet or drawer, streaming a free at-home exercise class, or any other healthy strategy you may have used to help reduce stress in the past.

Tip 6: Stay connected

This last tip is one that’s is imperative for both haulting stress eating and improving your mental health overall. Make sure to stay connected! It can be easy to isolate yourself from others when social distancing. While you may not be able to go see your friends and family in person, you can use the technology available to keep in touch with loved ones. Host a virtual Netflix watch party, Facetime loved ones frequently, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give them a call.

As we continue to protect ourselves and others from the spread of COVID-19, social distancing is going to be a major player in that game plan. Social distancing can and more than likely will lead to stress and anxiety. It is easy to turn to food for comfort but there are steps to curb the urge and stay healthy.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and lean on loved ones around you. Stay positive and stay safe. Just because you are distancing yourself form physical contact doesn’t mean you need to isolate yourself completely.

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NewsMakers

Daily ritual you’ll never want to skip for a healthier, happier you

As time passes by, we see our commitment to staying healthy weaken. It’s either we find ourselves making excuses to skip our workout routines, we forget to take our supplements, or we just eat whatever’s readily available without regard to its nutrition.

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Everybody dreams of having an active and healthy lifestyle. We all want to live long enough to reach all our goals and not be a burden to our families. However, in a fast-paced society, it is easy to get caught with the demands of our everyday life. Often, we juggle different roles such as that of a child, a parent, a friend, a partner, or even a workmate that require us to manage multiple responsibilities at once. As time passes by, we see our commitment to staying healthy weaken. It’s either we find ourselves making excuses to skip our workout routines, we forget to take our supplements, or we just eat whatever’s readily available without regard to its nutrition.

Then one day, we suddenly feel random parts of our body begin to ache, we easily get fatigued, and we can no longer do activities that we did with ease a year ago. This is when we realize that something needs to change with how we manage our lifestyle. But where do we start? How do we squeeze in staying healthy amidst our busy schedules?

If we want to become conscious of our health and what goes into our body, we need to be well-versed with what nutrients our body needs and how much of them we must consume to reach peak performance. It is important to take note that these essential nutrients are necessary for normal body function, growth, and development. However, they are not synthesized by our system, thus, they need to be externally sourced from foods or supplements.

The Macros

Macronutrients are the set of nutrients our body needs to consume in large amounts, specifically proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These are broken down to provide energy and building blocks for our body’s structure.

Proteins are known as the body’s building blocks, especially for muscle tissue. They are also known to aid in our digestive system through digestive enzymes, improve the structure of our skin by providing antioxidants, collagen, and elastin, and nourish our hair and nails through keratin. Proteins can be sourced from lean meats, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy.  

Another set of nutrients that our body needs in large quantities are carbohydrates or the body’s go-to energy source. They fuel us throughout our daily activities and during short to moderate lengths of exercise. Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source for movement, biosynthesis of proteins, brain function, and more. This food group includes bread, pasta, rice, cereal, fruits, and vegetables.
The last set of essential macronutrients is healthy fats which are essential in giving the body energy and supporting cell function. They also help protect our organs and keep our body warm. We can get this from avocado, almonds, nuts, fish, and oils coming from olive, sunflower, and canola.

The Micros

Micronutrients are the set of nutrients that our body needs in smaller amounts but are nevertheless essential to our health. These are minerals and vitamins which are vital in ensuring that our bones, muscles, heart, and brain function properly and efficiently. These are also in charge of making enzymes and hormones. There are various sources for these like fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, dairy, legumes, nuts, and liver.

The Supplements

But the thing is, it is not every day that we get to cook or consume meals containing all the essential nutrients that we must take in. Our body’s health needs remain constant day by day. So, what do we do? This is where supplements come in. They ensure that we still get the right amount of nutritional supply to eat, sleep, and perform better even on days our diet is insufficient.
This is something USANA is known for. Throughout the years, they took pride in providing consumers with the highest quality nutritional products to provide support in their active lifestyle. Their wide range of food supplements for various lifestyles and ages ensure that necessary support is provided where it is needed. Such supplements include: Cellsentials, MagneCal D, and BiOmega.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment. But it doesn’t have to be a burden as we go through our daily routines. Knowing the right nutrients and supplements and incorporating them in our daily ritual, a long and healthy life no longer needs to be just a dream but rather a lived reality.

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NewsMakers

8 Ways to save on holiday expenses

Consider these tips from the money-saving experts at Slickdeals and Head of Deals Vitaly Pecharsky to avoid overspending without sacrificing your festive spirit.

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While often regarded as the most wonderful time of year, the holiday season is also an expensive spot on the calendar. Even as many families feel the squeeze of inflation and rising costs, there is hope for your budget when it comes to gatherings, gifts, food and beyond.

Consider these tips from the money-saving experts at Slickdeals and Head of Deals Vitaly Pecharsky to avoid overspending without sacrificing your festive spirit.

Stick to a budget. Beyond gifts and stocking stuffers, holiday costs can add up quickly once you factor in travel, decor, pet care, special events and more. Create an all-encompassing budget for the season then break it into segments for each type of expense, including hidden expenses like wrapping paper or extra toiletries for guests, so you don’t end up with an unexpected credit card bill.

Split up food costs. Instead of putting yourself under the pressure of full-time holiday chef (and taking on all the expenses that come with it), consider hosting a potluck-style gathering. Providing the main course and encouraging guests to bring an appetizer, side or dessert is an easy way to avoid a hefty hosting bill. Send an e-vite with a list of must-haves that allows loved ones to sign up for specific dishes to ensure everything is covered without doubling up.

Search for the best deals. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift from toys to technology or trying to save on travel costs and home decor, make sure you find the best price. Consider sites where a community of millions of people work together to save money so you can be confident you’re getting the best deal. With 12 million shoppers assisting others by vetting and voting up the top deals from renowned retailers, your holiday needs are covered without sacrificing quality. You can also set Deal Alerts that send notifications directly to your inbox when a deal that matches your criteria is posted to the site.

Share experiences, not just “things.” Gadgets and gizmos may come to mind when brainstorming holiday gift ideas but remember some family members and friends just want more time together. If you’re considering a special experience for – and with – that special someone, think about their favorite hobbies and activities. Animal lovers may be overjoyed with a day at the local zoo and gearheads would cherish tickets to the next auto show. Integrating experiences into your gifting repertoire often makes for a more memorable (and cheaper) solution.

Take advantage of gift cards. A quick internet search can lead you to discounted gift cards, allowing you to save cash on holiday purchases. Or, for the one on your list who has everything, simply give the card as a gift so he or she can pick out what’s truly needed. As an added bonus, discounted gift cards are typically available even at the last minute so procrastinators can still save.

Show off your DIY skills. Buying new holiday decorations and replacing worn out crafts are seasonal expenses you may not immediately factor into your budget. Rather than heading to the store for (likely overpriced) ornaments and tablescapes, put your creative cap on and repurpose goods from around the house. Reusing items like glass jars to make homemade snow globes, for example, can be a crafty way to save. Plus, it’s a fun activity for family members to enjoy together.

Seek out post-holiday sales. Once the holidays are over, it’s a perfect opportunity to get ahead of the game for next year. Stock up on gift wrap, decorative items and other nonperishables that are often heavily discounted in the new year.

Save throughout the year. A handy tip for holiday seasons to come, try creating a fund each year where you can save up for gifts, food, travel and other end-of-year expenses. Set up a special bank account specifically for holiday savings where you contribute a small amount each month to be financially prepared for the festivities.

Find more ways to save this holiday season by visiting Slickdeals.com.

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NewsMakers

Ways to protect your family from tornadoes

Keep your loved ones safe with these tips to prepare for and shelter from tornadoes.

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When clouds loom overhead and winds pick up in your area, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the sky and an ear toward local news broadcasts. Capable of destroying buildings, uprooting trees and sending dangerous debris flying, tornadoes are rotating columns of air that extend from the base of thunderstorms to the ground.

With the potential to reach wind speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, these violent storms can wreak havoc on communities and put families in danger. Keep your loved ones safe with these tips to prepare for and shelter from tornadoes.

Pay Attention to Weather Forecasts

Staying weather alert is always a good idea, particularly as strong thunderstorms build and approach your location. Check the forecast regularly to understand the risk for severe weather and, if possible, sign up for smartphone alerts or notifications.

Put a Plan in Place

Each member of your family should understand what to do in an emergency situation. Create a plan that includes where to shelter in the event of a tornado warning. Typically, this is a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor of the home with no windows. If you have a safe room or storm shelter, which is a hardened structure designed to provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes, this is the time to utilize it. Clearly define who is expected to gather emergency materials, such as flashlights, blankets, a first-aid kit and extra food and water.

Understand Watches vs. Warnings

Key phrases from sources like the National Weather Service include “tornado watch” and “tornado warning.” Make sure you understand the differences to react appropriately.

  • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in or near your location. Review emergency plans with loved ones and be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado is active according to sightings or weather radar. It’s time to take action and follow your family’s safety plan.

Build Your Home with Resistant Materials

If constructing a new home is on the horizon, consider the benefits of building with durable materials like insulated concrete forms (ICFs), which are a more resilient alternative to wood framing. For areas prone to natural disasters, ICF walls from Nudura provide superior strength to withstand extreme wind and impact damage from tornadoes and hurricanes. They also protect against wildfires due to a fire protection rating of up to four hours, compared to 45 minutes for wood framing, and provide greater comfort, durability and lower life cycle costs compared to wood structures.

Shelter Safely

When a tornado warning is in effect, acting quickly is crucial. If at home, head to the basement, safe room or interior room away from windows and, if possible, stay tuned to local news for updates. At school or the workplace, follow the guidelines in place from tornado drills and proceed calmly but quickly to the shelter location. If driving and unable to get to shelter, pull over and get down in your vehicle with your head covered or leave your car and seek shelter in a low-lying ditch or ravine.

Find more ways to protect your family from natural disasters HERE.

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