May 06, 2021 3 min read

COVID-19 and the pandemic management strategies implemented by governments around the world are eliciting a wide spectrum of emotions, and that’s totally okay. If you’re someone who felt all of this, you’re not alone!

These feelings, combined with spending days in our homes surrounded by food and the danger of food scarcity, can lead to emotional eating, which can be distressing, but in hindsight, quite tempting too! The sweets are staring back at you from the fridge (which you visit 4 times every hour, and those chips would look better in your stomach!)

Emotional eating occurs when we feed in response to our emotions or thoughts. We let our emotional experiences direct when, what, and how much we consume, rather than focusing on inner hunger cues. Food is used to relax, soothe, numb, or force down difficult feelings in emotional eating.

Girl Holding Doughnuts

What Is Emotional Eating?

When we're concerned about a pandemic, worried about our finances, or suffering from stress, food will provide temporary relief. Since certain foods cause a surge in the development of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, this is a usual occurrence. Can you imagine how hard it must be to control these urges? 

You’ve to manage hunger pangs while sitting at home, surrounded by all this delicious food! 

Dopamine is related to motivation and reward, while serotonin aids in appetite control, sleep, and mood.

However, in the long run, it is unlikely to make us feel less tired, nervous, or bored. Emotional eating, although it may be used as a crutch, is not an efficient way to help us handle our emotional experiences.

How To Tackle This?

Be Gentle

Go easy on yourself, friend!

Crop woman using laptop during breakfast in kitchen

Food and emotional eating is an understandable tactic to turn to in order to soothe our feelings in the face of a pandemic that has culminated in a curfew, school closures, and massive changes to our daily normality.

So, first and foremost, be gentle with yourself. Remind yourself that emotional eating is understandable under the circumstances, and you're doing your best.

Consider what you'd say to a friend who told you they were eating more than normal because of tension at work, at home, or with a family member's health.

Try Regular Eating

One of the most crucial aspects of emotional eating is to ensure that we are not only mentally hungry. Furthermore, when we are hungry and there is an additional emotional stimulus, the conditions are ideal for eating beyond the point of fullness.

Sticking to a daily eating schedule, such as three meals and two snacks a day that include a variety of foods and food classes, can help to ensure that emotional hunger is not confused with physical hunger.  It also implies that even if the emotional layer is removed, we don't feel that way physically. 

You could even haveshotsthat help keep your hunger pangs in check, thus allowing you to properly control and eat only when needed.


Routine and structure can help to establish a sense of normalcy in the household. It'll also be crucial to ensure that these are appropriate portion sizes and include foods that make you happy.

Close up woman planning her day, keeps a grey cup with some liquid Free Photo

Restriction also includes falling into the pit of "great" feeding. It stands to reason that the foods that are more toxic or "naughty" would be the things we consume emotionally. Allowing yourself to eat these as part of a varied and healthy diet will help to eliminate their "forbidden fruit" impact.

With these tips, it becomes easier to see how you can set your mind a target of eating healthy, and follow it through!