We all eat for comfort occasionally, but if you find that you’re doing it more often than you’d like, an arsenal of self care strategies can help you feel more prepared to handle your worst food cravings. Here are a few of my favourites to give you some inspiration.
These strategies can be used in a variety of ways—on a daily basis to prevent stress from building up, after an especially stressful event that might trigger a binge episode, when you’re feeling the urge to eat for comfort, during the middle of overeating, or after overeating as a way to self-sooth.
If you find it challenging to use one of these strategies in place of food and eating, that’s okay. Thinking about the alternatives and visualizing yourself choosing one of them is one way to increase your likelihood of success the next time. I found making a list of what I might do instead of eating was an empowering activity that helped me to get out of the binge eating mentality.
I’ve sorted the list into comforting, reflective, and connecting categories. You might choose one activity from each category, or do a couple of activities from one category. Check in with yourself and see what resonates the most with you in that moment.
Do you have any tips on self care strategies? Or a question about using them? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Self Care Strategies that Don’t Involve Food
- Give yourself a shoulder, neck, and feet massage.
- Listen to relaxing music, try jazz, piano, pop, or whatever suits your mood.
- Light a candle, enjoy the scent and flickering warm flame.
- Go for a walk outside (or inside).
- Organize or clean your home.
- Watch a funny show or movie.
- Take a bath or shower.
- Rest – enjoy a nap or plan to go to bed early.
- Journal about your day.
- Make a list of things that you are grateful for.
- Write down a list of all the emotions you’re aware of right now.
- Meditate on the physical sensations in your body.
- Make a list of the needs that you’re trying to meet with food and eating.
- Draw a picture that represents how you’re feeling.
- Write a short story or poem based on your experiences.
- List 5 things you can do instead of eating.
- Call a friend to talk.
- Join or organize a group activity: a movie, a hike, or a games night.
- Read about something interesting: news, sports, travel, celebrities, psychology, cars…
- Touch things in nature: trees, walk on grass, smell a flower.
- Message a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
- Cuddle a pet or a person.
- Write a letter to your future (real or imagined) child.
- Attend a group fitness, art, or dance class at your local community centre.