This time of year can bring up a lot of different emotions. Spending time with family, travel, preparing to host people, gift buying, high expectations, being around a lot of indulgent foods and all the planning can often leave you feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed~ and on top of everything there can be a lot of pressure to feel happy, merry, and bright!
When you find yourself feeling anxious or stressed out, you’ll probably want to soothe these intense emotions with food. I know that that was my go to distraction, or way of seeking comfort.
Our subconscious mind knows that eating calms us down.
When you eat your brain sends a signal to your nervous system- letting it know that it can come out of fight or flight, because if you were in actual danger, you wouldn’t be stopping to eat. So as long as you are eating- you aren’t about to die.
Even though eating does help to calm those uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, usually it’s only a very temporary fix, AND it creates a result you DON’T want- you feel over full, low energy, and eventually gain weight…
Often after you are done eating you go into a guilt cycle, which leads to even more comfort eating. Seeing there are so many social, gatherings, and so many indulgent treats around at this time of year it makes comfort eating very accessible.
The solution to your anxiety is actually just creating more anxiety!
By using some practical tools to calm the nervous system, we can avoid or break this cycle.
Here are some easy ways that can support your nervous system:
Start with shaking your hands in your shoulders, and then your head. You can also do a quick sprint or dance to a high energy song.
This will up regulate your nervous system to increase the amount of energy available to the body.
Follow this up with one of the exercises below to down regulate your nervous system, and bring a sense of peace and calm:
1. Take a slow steady, breath in through your nose, and then breathe out really slowly like you’re breathing out of a straw, do this at least 3 times or until you feel your body relax.
2. One of my favorites is Faster EFT, see the video here to learn how to do this: https://youtu.be/QuOWA3lL7wU
3. Drink, cold water out of a straw, slip slowly.
4. Massage your ears. Pull down on the earlobes. Pull the top of your ear up and back.
It’s important to notice how you’re being as you engage in these activities. Slow yourself down as you do them. Have the intention to bring state of peace of your body.
Avoid being judgmental of yourself for feeling the unwanted emotion or feeling panicked about it. Use your thoughts to soothe yourself. My favorite mantra is “Everything is always working out for me”.
You can do these exercises at the first sign of anxiety, or as a way to prevent it. If you’re going into a situation, that usually brings you anxiety, use a few of these techniques ahead of time.
This works so much better than calming yourself by eating foods that you didn’t really want, need or enjoy. You’re left feeling peaceful and invigorated instead of heavy and stuck in a cycle that’s not working for you.
Note: There is NOTHING wrong with enjoying special foods during the holidays, it can be a really fun and enjoyable part of celebrating. What I’m suggesting is bringing awareness to and breaking the habit that isn’t serving you.
Nervous system regulation to bring about a sense of ease and have you feeling confident about your food choices is just one of the foundational tools that I will be using in my revolutionary eight month program, where we completely transform your relationship with food and your body.
How does food freedom, and loving your body in 2023 sound??
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