As emotional eaters, so many people tell me that one of their biggest problems is that they use food to shut down or shut out the rest of the world. Eating is how they disconnect and go offline when it all gets too much.
We can learn to look forward to the hours in front of the tube, mindlessly munching. That little bit of “me time” can be the only thing that keeps you going throughout the day.
It’s so important to soothe yourself after a long day filled (to the brim) with everything that you could, should, need to, and must do. You need to be calmed, you want to be soothed, you crave separation between you and the day.
Food is what has been doing that for you. But there are some other things that you can do at the end of the day that are not binge eating and will help you disconnect. And, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites for you:
1. Take A Hot Bath With Epsom Salts And A Few Drops Of Essential Oils
Lavender is one of my favorites. The hot water feels so good and relaxing. And the magnesium in Epsom salts will relax your muscles and allow you to get the peace you need between work and sleep. It will also lull you into a deep and lovely sleep.
2. Drink A Hot Beverage
If you can’t get into the tub, drinking a hot soothing beverage is the next best thing. Make sure that whatever you do drink is non-alcoholic, and has no caffeine.
3. Read A Book That Has Nothing Thought Provoking In It
Remember, this is about shutting down. Really turning your mind off, so get comfy with a book that is entertaining, fun, engrossing or captivating. With a physical book, you will be using your hands to hold the book. This integrates your tactile senses and satisfies your sensory needs to eat. Audio books will not be as effective unless you are doing something else with your hands (see below.)
4. Do A Savasana
Also known as “corpse pose”, it is said to be the most relaxing yoga pose. It is usually done at the end of a yoga class to help you take space between your yoga practice and getting back to your day. It’s so easy, you don’t even have to “do yoga” to do it. The savasana pose relaxes your whole body. You can just lay on the floor with your arms out, your legs separated, relax your jaw, relax your forehead, just let your body find peace. I make sure that the lights are dimmed, I close my eyes are closed, and may have some quiet music on. You can find out more about how to do this pose here.
5. Meditate Or Do A Guided Visualization
No need to silence your mind or take too much effort. Close your eyes, lay down (do Savasana?) and breathe in through your nose for 10 seconds, hold it and breath out through your nose for 10 seconds.
6. Watch Television
Watching television can be rough because lots of people binge in front of the TV. However, if you can do something else while you’re watching TV, like give yourself a manicure, pedicure, hot oil treatment, face mask, or do something creative – something loving and nurturing that occupies your hands and mouth.
7. Adult Coloring Books
They can be more relaxing than meditation. It calms your mind and gives you a very similar effect that you’re looking for with food.
8. Make Something
Anything. Crochet, knit, make jewelry, play with clay, draw, fiddle around with an instrument. As a side note, Knitting is actually used by occupational therapists to help people alleviate stress, relax, and focus their brains.
9. Take A Restorative Yoga Class Or Do Some Restorative Yoga
It’s not power yoga, it’s not about fitness, it’s about really relaxing your body and releasing very, very deep tension both in your muscles and in your mind. You don’t have to be a yoga guru to do it either. It’s for every level, even someone who has never done yoga before. If you can dim the lights and light some candles and burn some incense or use some essential oils.
10. Get A Massage
I know you can’t go get a massage every day before bed, but you can every once in a while, and if not, try some self-massage. So what about you? Can you add to this list? What are some positive ways you shut down without going to food?