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by Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN

Do you find yourself constantly walking into the kitchen for another snack? Are tensions and pressures affecting you by increasing your appetite or comfort food intake? Firstly, know that emotional eating isn't the worst thing you can do. But, if eating is the only outlet you have for handling your emotions, it can be problematic and an easy routine to fall into.

Here are some other coping tools to utilize for comfort, instead, most of which can be done from your own home. Scroll on to get started.

8 Ways To Find Comfort In Tough Times

1. Practice Meditating or Deep Breathing

The act of meditation can help you become more mindful and learn to focus on the present. Generally, if we are seeking comfort, it may be due to uncertainty about the future or thoughts about the past. The practice of meditation and deep breathing can help. Learning to acknowledge and feel your emotions can also be powerful in determining the root cause of the emotions you are experiencing, whereas turning to food is generally just a mask for these emotions.

2. Connect With a Partner, Friend or Family Member

Even if you are unable to connect in person, virtual connections can be powerful and spark happiness. Research has shown that social connection is an essential human need, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a model of human needs used in psychology, includes love and belonging as a key pillar. Love and belonging include friendships, intimacy, family, and a sense of connection. Sometimes getting advice or perspective from loved ones or people in your corner can be healing and having a sense of connection can also help boost the mood.

3. Get Some Extra Shut-Eye

In our busy, technology-driven world, sleep is often the first thing to go on our long list of priorities. However, getting a routine good night’s sleep can have a variety of benefits.

Prioritize sleep by going to bed a little earlier and practicing good sleep hygiene, like developing a nighttime routine and avoiding screen time in the hour before sleep. 

4. Volunteer

Getting out in your community and volunteering for a cause you believe in or providing help to others can be a great way to boost “feel-good” endorphins and establish a stronger sense of self and belonging. Volunteering also generally puts you in the company of others, many of whom are also working to help others, which can uplift your mood.  

You can volunteer virtually as well. The website, Catchafire, is a search engine for online volunteer projects that range anywhere from an hour to a few weeks. Other organizations, like United Nations Volunteers, connect you with organizations working for peace and development, with areas of need in research, writing, art and design.

5. Get Out in Nature

If you don’t have a walkable route near you, even spending some time sitting on a deck, porch or space outside can be productive and helpful. Nature and the outdoors can help to boost mood, improve mental clarity, and may help to sort out some emotions you may be experiencing.

6. Exercise

Exercise can produce endorphins and other feel-good chemicals that can improve mood, outlook and more. Whether you engage in group classes, a daily walk or yoga practice, or are interested in trying a new virtual class, finding a way to create a routine around exercise can help with coping mechanisms and overall attitude.

7. Take Up a New Hobby

With today’s technology, it’s very accessible to take a class or course to learn about a new hobby or interest. From several DIY projects to watching documentaries and learning new knowledge and skills, to taking a free online class, there are endless things you can now learn from the comfort of your own home.

8. Make a Vision Board

Compile some of your favorite inspirational quotes, magazine articles, photos, journal entries and goals into a personalized vision board that represents you and your goals. You can use it as a motivational board to remind you where you want to be, or just provide inspiration for happier times ahead.

A vision board can be placed somewhere where it provides a constant reminder and clear process that outlines your intentions and goals. It can also be a great place to document growth and transformation. 

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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