During the pandemic many people have resorted to binge-eating, watching television endlessly or finding other ways to deal with the feeling of being trapped at home.
So we wondered if there are healthier kinds of bingeing to help us stay sane during these difficult times.
We asked two people with ideas along these lines and came up with 10 tips for healthy bingeing.
Marie-Charles N’da is a 19-year-old former Humber student. She used to attend a Social Worker program since she graduated from Saint-Frère-Andre Secondary Catholic school.
“Life is not that fun anymore,” she said. “My mental health has declined since COVID lockdowns.”
She remembered when she used to be on the better side of life, making money, enjoying school, being with friends.
The switch from in-person to online courses started right after she began college. It went well at first, but then she began to lose interest and not attending classes, even forgetting them.
After realizing that, she spoke to her family doctor and was diagnosed with ADHD, and not with simple procrastination as she had thought.
She went to work as a temporary employee at a toy store for the Christmas season during the lockdowns and after they lifted some of the rules, but everything “felt dirty,” she said. She didn’t want people to touch her. Her mood declined and she wanted to stay home rather than go into work.
But since then she has come up several good ideas that have helped her dealing with these issues.
Another Toronto resident with useful thoughts on this is Catherine Chan, a 48-year-old CEO at FitIn, an ethical marketplace for fitness and wellness. It’s still a startup that’s been around for a few years, but relaunched last month November.
Chan’s web app allows self-employed wellness and fitness instructors to manage their businesses with customers. They are currently working on creating a Native app and planning to release it next year for Apple and Android users.
They welcome all minds and bodies as well as advocate for mental health and wellness on its own or through the practices they offer at FitIn. Chan’s company is tech savvy, but it treasures people’s opinions and needs, she said. They listen and apply.
“It’s a social enterprise. What I enjoy most about it is the change-making aspect,” Chan said. “We’ve kind of lost our way in health and wellness. It’s to help find ways to be healthy that works for them.”
Here are some some of N’da’s and Chan’s tips:
1.Keep a journal
N’da writes down her daily thoughts to help her sort through how she’s feeling and thinking. She believes it organizes her many notions. Writing or typing can place your mind into a kind of relaxation. You put your thoughts on paper, and you honestly begin to feel at ease. Weightless.
2. Take care of your skin
N’da has this phobia of acne, so she tries to take care of scarring, pimples and other such skin pit holes. She likes it clear. Skin care can help clear and revive your former glow. Too often we don’t pay attention to our exterior once we’re at home all the time.
3. Try to talk to someone
“I realized that in the begin, when I didn’t say anything, I felt 10 times worse,” N’da said. “If you keep your bottled up emotions, it feels terrible.”
She continues to confront her inner emotions by talking to her family doctor and also decided to book regular appointments with a therapist to discuss further.
4. Reward yourself
People have been working multiple hours to get by can forget to do something for themselves. There needs to be a sense of balance between work and self-care, not too much of one over the other. N’da reminds herself to do that, or she’ll forget to live life. She also got a cat, named Shiba, for instance.
FitIn, pre-pandemic, was about getting civilians together and chat, Chan said. Humans are social beings who require communication and connection. Once in a while, friends should meet up via Zoom to socialize and when the cases go down, try and go out in-person.
Also check on each other regularly. This kind of human interaction helps fight off the darker thoughts that cloud us and the heaviness. Chan said she enjoys the warmth of a good conversation. “We need that feeling of being.”
Meditation used to be derided as “woo woo” stuff according to Chan, but there are studies that prove that meditation helps put our bodies, minds and spirits into perspective. She does the yoga and breathing technique of pranayama, which generates similar results as regular meditation in less time. She recommends to do it even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day.
She recalls last year when her anxiety levels were high, always worried, always in a state of panic. She feared she was going to have a heart attack until she started doing pranayama. “It saved my life,” Chan said. Her heart palpitations were reduced, and she didn’t have an attack for more than eight months and has a better relationship with her daughter since practising that strategy, she said.
Chan began with cardio. Heart movement is very important and blood needs to keep circulating, she said. “Try to integrate it into your life.”
She noted most of us spend our days sitting on our butts since the pandemic became a far bigger storm, but the body needs motion.
Next was weight lifting. To keep our muscles and bones healthy and maintain our mass, especially for women to prevent osteoporosis. Finally, stretching. For those with sore lower backs for example, like Chan, can benefit from this after typing away for hours.
“Try to integrate it into your life in ways that work for you. That’s the key.”Catherine Chan
8. Eat good foods
A student, who didn’t want her name used, told us she stopped eating while attending school online, so she could focus solely on her assignments. She skipped meals, specifically breakfast and dinner, and treated food as a reward have after she’s completed her tasks, even if it meant she’d go to sleep hungry if not finished on time.
Chan said there is a part of us that traumatizes ourselves into thinking we are undeserving of food, but we need nutrition to move, to live, to do what we must. It takes time to remember that you need to eat, but little by little, it becomes a permanent thought to keep, like “I’m a human being with a physical body.”
“We’ve been conditioned to believe that we are superhuman, and that’s not true,” Chan said. “It’s part of the work that needs to happen, we need to get back to ‘I’m a human being with a physical body.'”
9. Have a routine
Remember to go outside for a walk, do some activities, and breathe. Good, regular sleep is also crucial to maintain, so you can feel more energized when you wake up.
10. Do-nothing time
Chan recommends zoning out. Scrolling on devices is tolerable, but lying there with your electronics off is less distracting. It provides the brain a chance to have the rest it seeks Loosen your muscles. Empty your brain.
“You should book that in your calendar, protect it at all costs.” says Chan “Your one job for that time is to do nothing.”