How We’re Making Ourselves Sicker, Virus or Not
When life’s feeling like a little more than you can handle, what do you find yourself doing?
I remember sitting in my therapist’s office with my newborn, undergoing treatment for post-partum anxiety. I asked my doctor, “How do you know if you have a shopping addiction?”
Of course, the fact that I was asking suggests that my relationship with online shopping was a personal problem for me.
For me, the abrupt switch from full-time corporate work to stay-at-home mom hadn’t been easy. My son also caught me a bit off-guard, arriving two weeks early. I felt very alone and sometimes bored during my maternity leave. So having a package arrive on the front porch delivered an element of excitement along with it.
And while my shopping habit may have appeared harmless on the surface (I wasn’t accruing any debt), deep down I wasn’t happy with myself or my reliance on stuff to feel content. In fact, I was ashamed that the miracle of motherhood wasn’t enough for me to be happy.
Have you found yourself falling into unhealthy patterns?
If so, know that you are not alone.
It’s a hugely stressful time for our species. As humans, it is our natural tendency to soothe anxiety and discomfort with distracting behaviors–think eating, drinking, and mindlessly scrolling from post to post.
We seek out all the pleasures.
We gain weight.
Our precious time is spent without our even realizing it.
In America (and likely other places too) there has been an increase in many unhealthy habits during the COVID-19 crisis.
· Television viewing has increased to 41 hours/week on average (up almost 30%). (1)
· Americans spend twice as much money online shopping since the pandemic began. (2)
· For 8 consecutive weeks, beer sales have topped $1B—the highest ever. (3)
· Cigarette smoking has made a comeback during the pandemic. (4)
· Unhealthy sleep patterns have emerged for 67% of Americans. (6)
· And 76% of Americans have gained weight from mid-March—up to 16 pounds so far. (7)
When I saw these statistics, I thought, “People are deeply hurting.”
It is easy to fall into unhealthy habits for (short-term) relief from the hurt in our heart, but these habits never promise the inner peace that we are seeking.
Short-term relief shares a common theme. It involves overconsumption.
Overconsuming calories overwhelms the body with energy it cannot efficiently burn.
Overconsuming screen-time overwhelms the mind with more information and stimulation than it knows how to process.
Overconsuming alcohol overwhelms our internal organs, poisoning our body, and leaving us no better for it.
And while we may feel better in the moment, our overindulgences lead to unwelcome results like weight gain and physical inactivity, debt, and even despair.
What may seem like a simple treat at the time later leads to guilt and shame.
We aren’t treating ourselves at all.
So how can we offer ourselves more compassion and ease while detaching from unhealthy habits?
We turn overconsumption on its head.
Instead of relying solely on energy input, we focus on energy OUTPUT.
Through energy output, we reclaim control of our bodies and emotions through CREATION.
What could you create today?
Creation reroutes the mind away from instant gratification. Creation guides the mind toward activities that cultivate feelings of joy, gratitude, inspiration and love.
What could you create for yourself or others? Perhaps you like to write or journal, paint, knit, draw, sew, dance, or sing. Anything goes!
Movement generates feelings of accomplishment and inspiration too.
How could you reintroduce movement into your day? Gentle exercising not only consumes energy (calories), but also offers relaxation benefits.
How might you serve others? Humans are meant to connect. And while some forms of connection have been discouraged for now, it is still worth finding safe ways to do so.
Take a moment to assess the current trajectory of your health.
How do you want it to look 6 months from now?
How about 12 months from now?
You are 100% in control of your health.
You get to decide whether you want to give away your power to overindulgences or reclaim your power through CREATION and energy output.
The trajectory of your future is 100% in your hands.
Let’s get creating!
With you on the creative journey,
P.S.—Are you struggling to break free from unhealthy patterns? I help women create visions and bring them to life.
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