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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

How to help children build a growth mindset

Consider these three tips to help children build a growth mindset.

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A new year is a perfect time to consider the habits you want to keep and the ones you’d like to develop. One resolution to consider is helping your children develop a growth mindset this year.

“We know one of the greatest boosts to parents’ confidence over the past year came from knowing their children’s whole selves are being nurtured, and we want to see that trend continue,” said Carter Peters from KinderCare Learning Center’s education team. “A growth mindset helps children try new things despite fear of failure. It’s the kind of thinking that allows inventors and creative thinkers to get excited about trying something new and ensures they have the cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills to work through hurdles.”

Adults can often easily spot when children are engaged in creative thinking and prideful of their work, but that confidence may be lost as failures turn into insecurities. By nurturing a growth mindset and showing children they can learn and develop new skills in any area, it better sets them up for long-term success.

Consider these three tips to help children build a growth mindset:

Photo by Markus Spiske from Unsplash.com

1. Praise effort

It’s easy to fall into the habit of praising successes. However, praising effort encourages children to try new things without the fear of failing. It also teaches children personal growth and achievement are possible, even if their overall effort wasn’t a success.

“Young children often get excited to try something new,” Peters said. “By praising effort and showing children they’ll still be loved and valued despite the outcome, you can reframe how they approach challenges and teach them that difficult doesn’t mean impossible.”

2. Encourage the process

People often withhold praise until there’s a result, which leads children to hurriedly scribble a picture to hold up for a “good job” instead of taking time to focus on their efforts. When children know adults will encourage them during the process, instead of only upon the achievement, they’re more likely to try new things or master a new skill. For example, try providing encouragement such as, “I can see you’re focused on drawing that tree. It looks so lifelike because you’re putting so much thought into what you’re doing.” Once their project is finished, continue the encouragement by hanging up their artwork or school projects in a prominent place.

3. Model a growth mindset

You can model a growth mindset for children by narrating your actions when you are facing a challenge: “I am having a difficult time putting this shelf together, but it’s OK. I’ll take a break then read the instructions again.” Remove negative words from your vocabulary, such as “I can’t” or “I’m stupid.” Even when you are joking, children may not be able to tell the difference. You can also ask your children to join you in problem-solving. Take time to hear their ideas and try them even if you think they won’t work. This not only supports the development of their growth mindset, but the quality time and encouragement reinforces their sense of self-worth and builds confidence.

For more tips to help children develop a growth mindset, visit kindercare.com.

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NewsMakers

Signs of a Healthy Marriage

Although there are many different ways to define a healthy marriage, these three qualities are essential for any lasting and fulfilling relationship.

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A healthy marriage is built on trust, respect, and communication. Couples with these qualities in their relationship tend to be more satisfied with their marriage and overall life. They also report feeling closer to their partner and having stronger well-being. With 2.3 out of every 1000 people in the US experiencing divorce in 2022, it is important to frequently check in on the health of your marriage.

Although there are many different ways to define a healthy marriage, these three qualities are essential for any lasting and fulfilling relationship.

Signs of a Healthy Marriage

A healthy marriage is built on trust, communication, and mutual respect. If you and your partner can effectively communicate and share a mutual level of respect, then your relationship is off to a good start. Trust is also important in a healthy marriage, as it allows you and your partner to feel secure in your relationship and rely on each other.

Many other signs can indicate whether or not a marriage is healthy. For example, couples who can spend quality time together and enjoy shared activities usually do well. Couples who can openly discuss their relationship with each other and work through difficulties together are also more likely to have a happy and healthy marriage. Finally, marriages, where both partners feel like they can be themselves without judgment from their spouse tend to be the strongest and most lasting.

Freedom to be yourself

In a healthy marriage, partners feel free to be themselves. They don’t have to put on a facade or pretend to be someone they’re not. They can be open and honest with each other and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Both partners should pursue their interests and hobbies without compromising or sacrificing for the sake of the relationship. There’s no need to agree on everything – in fact, it’s healthy to have some separate interests – but overall, both partners should feel like they’re able to be true to themselves within the relationship.

Lots of good communication

In a healthy marriage, partners can communicate effectively. It means expressing needs and wants and listening and responding to what the other person is saying. There are mutual respect’s opinions, even if there are disagreements. Couples in a healthy marriage feel comfortable communicating with each other about both the good and the bad.

Good sex life

A good sex life can be a major sign of a healthy marriage. A lack of sexual activity can be an early warning sign that something is wrong in the relationship. Often, couples who have a good sex life are more connected emotionally and physically. They are also more likely to trust each other and communicate openly.

Trust in each other

In any relationship, trust is essential. Without trust, there is no foundation for the relationship to grow. In a marriage, trust is even more important. Trusting your spouse means you feel confident in their ability to support you emotionally and financially. It also means that you feel safe sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with them.

When you trust your spouse, you know they have your best interests. You feel comfortable being yourselves around each other and sharing your hopes, dreams, and fears. Openness and honesty in your relationship allow you to be vulnerable with each other. This vulnerable honesty creates a deeper level of intimacy in your marriage.

When you trust each other, you can be more forgiving when mistakes are made. You know that everyone makes mistakes and that nobody is perfect. You also understand that your spouse is human and capable of making mistakes like anyone else. If they make a mistake, you are more likely to forgive them because you know they are sorry and will try not to make the same mistake again.

Trust is one of the most important foundations of a healthy marriage. If you want your marriage to thrive, build trust in each other.

A successful, strong marriage takes work, but with communication, trust, respect, vulnerability, and affection as its core components, you can together create a partnership that will be long-lasting.

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NewsMakers

Why hustle culture can do more harm than good to your mental health

Despite the fact that hustle culture causes individuals to increase their working hours and reduce the number of hours they have for sleep, it can actually cause people to become a lot less productive, making the entire culture itself extremely counterproductive.

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Anybody with social media will be aware of the hauntingly popular notion of ‘hustle culture’, which refers to people feeling pressured to work tirelessly, without rest, and to be constantly making money and being productive. 

The research team at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, has stressed that this notion can be extremely toxic and can cause a negative impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Stress

One of the many negative impacts that hustle culture can have on an individuals mental wellbeing is with extreme stress. Stress in the workplace can affect people both mentally and physically, it can generate feelings of anxiety and cause depression. In phsycial form, stress can cause heart disease, difficulty breathing, headaches and alcohol and drug dependency. 

Stress caused by heavy work pressures, long hours and workloads can result in burnout. Being burnout can affect everyday tasks at work or in the home, it can make an individual feel less productive and it increase the risk of mistakes. In industries that deal with machinery or are based in dangerous environments, this could have catastrophic consequences. 

Anxiety 

Hustle culture creates a toxic environment for fear, guilt and shame, and the glorification of overworking can lead to severe cases of anxiety. The anxiety makes employees feel that they have failed if they ever take a break. Not allowing yourself any time to relax can be extremely dangerous for your mental health and wellbeing. Anxiety can lead to a plethora of other issues including lack of sleep, fatigue, and exhaustion.

Exhaustion

Working too much, feeling constantly under pressure and having a poor sleep cycle can cause exhaustion. This can lead to counter-productivity later down the line as exhaustion can cause difficulty with concentration, memory and even emotional imbalance. 

There are also instances where the body is able to just shut itself down and fall asleep whilst working, this can be extremely dangerous if a person’s industry involves driving vehicles or operating heavy machinery. 

Fatigue

Fatigue is sometimes compared to exhaustion, however fatigue can be more long term and can cause further damage to a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Symptoms can be much more severe than exhaustion too, individuals will often experience headaches, dizziness and muscle pains and weakness.

Fortunately, with some simple and practical lifestyle changes such as taking more breaks and getting proper sleep, fatigue can reduce over time, but in some cases you may need to see a doctor. 

Decreased Productivity 

Despite the fact that hustle culture causes individuals to increase their working hours and reduce the number of hours they have for sleep, it can actually cause people to become a lot less productive, making the entire culture itself extremely counterproductive. 

This is why hustle culture has a negative impact on both employers and employees, for employers they end up with workers being much less productive and the workers themselves begin to face a plethora of physical and mental health issues that can be entirely avoided.

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