Being a caregiver can bring a lot of stress into your daily routine. As a caregiver, you have several people that are relying on you to take care of their loved one, which often translates as anxiety or stress for a caregiver. There are several ways that people choose to cope with their stress, many of which are healthy and encouraged, but every now and then a caregiver may cope with stress by overeating.
Food serves as comfort for some individuals and can be a coping mechanism. Although allowing yourself the occasional treat is healthy and key to a balanced diet, it is important to know when you are overeating and overindulging. By definition, overeating or overindulging means that you are eating more food than you need, and you are simply eating because it serves as comfort for you rather than for nutritional value. When you overeat, you are not eating because you are hungry, and you most likely do not stop eating when you are full. It is important to recognize the signs of overeating and understand when you are doing so.
When you are stressed or overwhelmed, it is important to find outlets to put your energy in rather than eating. Having a water bottle near you at all times can help you focus on drinking water when you would otherwise reach for a snack. Although it will take time to get used to the experience of replacing food with water, it will eventually become a habit for you. You will reap the benefits of an increased water intake and find another outlet or oral fixation for you during your times of stress.
If you overeat or overindulge after your shifts, try finding another outlet for your pent-up energy or anxiety. We suggest taking a walk and getting fresh air, especially after a long stressful day. The combination of fresh air and endorphins from exercise can increase your mood and your overall mental health. If you would rather work out in a gym or with a group, try exercise classes or join a gym where you can use your stress or anxiety for good! We love boxing, cycling and yoga!
During your time of stress or anxiety, it is important to recognize the signs of overeating and channel your energy to a healthier outlet. Whether that is cooking healthy meals, taking a walk or attending a yoga class, you can overcome your challenges. We encourage you to find an outlet that will work for you! Remember that each person is different and that it may take several times to find what works for you. If you are concerned with your overeating or overindulging due to stress, we encourage you to consult your doctor for more information.