We all have a feel good favorite whether it’s a favorite drink, delicious treat or even an activity we can escape in. But how can we recognize the signs of taking our feel good favorites just a little too far? 2020 has been a year of particular uncertainty as well as one we have spent more of in isolation than we would have liked. This may have left us with more time to overindulge in activities and behaviors that might be tipping over into self-medicating. After all, many of us have been nervous, on edge, sad, and uncertain about where our future is going. Wanting to soothe ourselves isn’t in any way abnormal as humans tend to lean toward behaviors that lessen pain or discomfort and increase pleasure and relaxation.
Here are some questions to ask if you think something you’re doing is leaning toward an act of self-medication and then what you can do about it:
How do I feel about the results I am getting?
Am I waking up groggy? Feeling sluggish? Gaining weight? Not exercising? Losing touch with family and friends? (even if that means via phone and zoom these days)
Does this behavior make me feel like I am resolving or just covering up my feelings?
When you reach for that drink, favorite food, or seek out that particular activity, ask yourself honestly what you are feeling. Is this a thing that is creating balance or imbalance in my life? Do I feel calmer or more restless? Joyful or blue? Really tune in to your gut reaction-it will answer truthfully.
What could I be doing instead?
What other things can I try to address my needs? Can I reach out to my partner or a friend? Can I journal about what I am feeling? Read a new book? When an urge to grab something indulgent arises, try to immerse yourself in one of these mentioned activities or anything else you’ve been meaning to try for at least 20 minutes. Our perspective can shift that quickly if we give it a chance to.
With the uncertainty of 2020, we are looking for relief in many different ways. But are we finding balance? This is a question that we have to ask ourselves regularly and honestly to keep everything in check. If you need help with this, it is perfectly okay to reach out for help too. Our counselors at Calm Mind Counseling Center are here for you.