The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2018
Nutrition As Self-Care
Proper eating habits are often the first things to go out the window when we are stressed. Perhaps you drop eating almost entirely because of time constraints or lack of appetite (guilty as charged). Or maybe your food intake gets shunted lower on your list of priorities, shoehorned in between other things on your to-do list, and you eat what is easy instead of what is optimal for your best care, or you eat quickly because there’s no more time.
But eating is one of the most basic forms of self-care there is. Without adequate nutrition, you become incapable of handling your other daily tasks. Fatigue and low energy levels are all too common results. Your memory and mental clarity can also suffer. Essentially, you undermine your basic functioning. This isn’t even about eating the right kinds of food; this is about covering your body’s basic needs to function.
Food also impacts mood. Mood is regulated by hormone production, which takes a hit when you short yourself on food that has adequate nutritional value. Listen to your body’s needs in regard to food. Ever been hungry because you didn’t provide your body with enough fuel? Or been lethargic and unable to focus because you’ve eaten a meal that was too big?
Food can be tricky. Sometimes we get caught up in using food to reward ourselves or as self-care in a less-than-constructive way, trying to cheer ourselves up with treats that may make us feel good emotionally but that don’t pack as great a reward for our nutritional levels. And sometimes, when you feel like most of your life is out of control, eating food becomes something that you can control. Remember, an extravagant food-based treat once in a while can be indulgent, but indulge too often, and it’s no longer a treat.
Energy is required to invest in food planning and preparation, which can be daunting if you are already struggling with anxiety, depression, a crazy schedule, or low energy levels. Your living conditions and income may not allow for proper food storage or preparation, which can also impact your ability to manage nutritional self-care.
There’s no magic bullet to fix problems with food. But you should do what you can whenever you can. To make planning easier, take half an hour a week to plan out meals so you’re not caught half an hour before dinner wondering what to make. Order groceries online if you can; if not, make sure you have a master list of everything you’ll need to make that week’s meals. To make prepping easier, make extra and freeze some for days when you come home late and need to eat but have zero energy.