3 Tips to Help with Eating and Mindfulness in a Pandemic

Carolyn Lowe

Breathe in and breathe out.

Fresh air and breathing: Unsplash - engin akyurt

As the worry and uncertainty ramps up, it’s common to look for foods that bring us comfort; and this is especially the case during a pandemic. The negative emotions come out and so do our feelings. We want to eat; to make us feel better about the situation that we are in and to give us feelings of hope and comfort.

We seek food that makes us feel good, in times where there are so many challenges to face on a daily basis, it gives us something to look forward to. There’s also something so satisfying about cooking/baking your food.

Baking soda, flour, and other baking necessities have been sold out multiple times this year, as people are home and taking the time to bake. I saw this article on LinkedIn about why we are drawn to baking and gardening in a pandemic. Based on the self-determination theory, it states that humans feel happy, motivated, and fulfilled when the following needs are met: autonomy, mastery, and belonging.

I met all these three needs when I learned how to make bread this year. These are the lessons that I’ve learned in the long process of baking bread — Part 1, 2, and 3. Bread making has taught me to keep practicing mindfulness and being in the present.

Here are some ideas that I’ve learned about eating mindfully:

  1. Drink water (I drink warm water) and hydrate throughout the day. I find that when I drink more water, I’m inclined to eat less in my meals. I find that I’m taking smaller portions and become more mindful of what I’m putting on to my plate.
  2. Breathe deeply. Through some skin challenges, I find that boxed breathing has been helping me throughout the day and also before I sleep. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference and I know that I hold my breath in moments of anxiety without even realizing it. Breathing deeply helps reduce feelings of anxiety and stops me from reaching out for foods that aren’t helping me at the moment. I’ve been doing rounds of breathing to remind myself to just focus on my breath. Breathing deeply to remind myself to chew mindfully before swallowing.
  3. Let it be. I generally eat quickly. When I look up at the time to see how long it’s taken me to finish a meal, I realize that I’ve eaten my meal too quickly and feel bad. I have to remind myself that it’s ok, at least I’m aware of how fast I eat. I can eat slower tomorrow and just let the thoughts go.

Finding a physical space to eat has been a challenge as well. I do my best to create a space that’s clean and uncluttered (though it can be challenging to maintain this when things get busy!). I find that I can enjoy my meals so much more in a clean environment than when I eat in the midst of chaos. I can feel my mind relaxing which I find so important!

What are your tips for eating mindfully?

Guest Contribution By Carolyn Lowe

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