Our mood affects how and what we eat and, in turn, the food we eat has an impact on our state of mind. That’s why there is an important relationship between self-care and healthy eating.
When we are tired and stressed, we are more likely to turn to quick-fix foods such as carbs and sugar for instant energy. Some people also see food as a source of comfort or use it as a ‘reward’ after a difficult day.
However, the types of foods that are high in refined sugar and refined carbohydrates can make us feel much worse later on. Even though they give us that initial boost of energy, they can then make us “crash" or feel super tired later on, which actually makes our mood worse in the long run.
CHANGING OUR RELATIONSHIP TO FOOD
Healthy eating is an important aspect of self-care because it impacts your physical and mental wellbeing.
Eating healthily is all about balance. Crash diets and cutting yourself off from certain food groups will only create a negative relationship to food. Instead, we need to think about food in a positive light, considering the sorts of foods that will nurture our body and help us feel refreshed and ready to face the day.
There’s no harm in having a treat every now and again - we’re all human after all! However, we do need to understand that eating foods that are high in refined sugar all the time can actually cause us damage in the long run.
Finding ways to develop a love for cooking or baking, using lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts and healthy ingredients, is a great way to start looking at our relationship to food.
COMBINING THIS WITH OTHER SELF-CARE PRACTICES
Healthy eating alone will not suddenly make you feel better. Rather, self-care is about a combination of choices where we treat our body and mind well, and all of these choices influence one another.
For example, regular exercise helps you to feel better and make healthier food choices. You feel more connected to your body, and understand what it’s capable of after eating certain meals or snacks.
Some people also use mindfulness as a tool for self-care, and this can include mindful eating where you truly think about what you put into your body. Where and how we eat has an impact on the way we think about food so it’s important to take time away from your laptop, phone or TV and really focus on the meal you are eating.
Healthy eating is all about looking after yourself as best as you can. Self-care is not just a craze or a trend, it’s all about developing habits which nourish both your body and your mind.