10 Life lessons from the time of COVID

10 Life lessons from the time of COVID

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After the last 15 months of closure, a lot of the world is opening. We can try on clothes in the store, go to the movies, and gather to worship. Are you ready? No matter where you fall on your opinions about the pandemic, I think everyone has a takeaway or life lesson coming out of this last 15 months. If you have not considered your takeaways, this list is going to be a reminder of what you can take from the last 15 months into the future. I call it making lemonade out of lemons.

1. We are more social than we think we are and there is still a necessity for down time. The time of covid was an introvert’s delight. There was a permission to sit and just be. But I heard from many introverts that did want more freedom to go out. I am an extrovert, and I missed all the public places I had gone and the people I could not see. Even though I missed the time out with others, I found I cherished the downtime where I was not expected to be anywhere. Holidays at home and no requirement to drive anywhere felt freeing to me. 

2. There is an interconnectedness to this world.
As I heard the stories of sadness, loss, and fear, I found it so extraordinary to hear my clients and others share feelings and experiences I was experiencing at the same time with them. I felt powerless to make big changes and sitting with the feelings was my call to action often. People in the helping profession are not usually experiencing the same experience at the same time as their clients. This was profound. I had to make a conscious decision to more connected to my self-care than ever.

3. We do not always know what curve balls life will throw us.
My family and I thought we had the year 2020 planned when the clock struck midnight and the new year began. We entered 2020 with a feeling of exuberance and joy. We had so many plans for the year. We dubbed it the “year of the McLaughlin’s.” I had heard so many of my friends express the same excitement for 2020 and saw it as a turning point year. The curve ball is my metaphor when life does not go the way I planned or expected. Once the year began to roll out, it was clear 2020 would not look like what any of us thought.

4. Be grateful for what you have.
As I sat home with my family, I was grateful that I had my husband and child here and my parents close by. I know of people who had some many different experiences, either feeling alone or being around too many people for too long.

5. Food is comforting.
We know food is comforting, but the world experienced food as comfort. I felt scared when I went to the grocery store and saw the shelves empty of food. I have never lived in a place where there was food scarcity, and this is what I experienced. We never actually went without food, but my empathy increased for people who do experience the lack of food.

6. Movement is critical.
I sat- a lot. My family and I walked most every day to get out of the house and to get fresh air and to have movement. I found working from home created more time of sitting and my body hurt. My gym was closed, and they had virtual exercises. I tried to engage virtually, but I did not push myself like I do at the gym. I was grateful when the gym “opened” in early summer at the park. We were able to work out together and stay socially distanced. I realized that I need the social experience of movement to push myself to do more.

7. Routines are important- no matter what.
The pandemic brought this lack of centeredness for myself, my family, and my clients. We did not necessarily have to keep to schedules because life felt upside down. Working from home and virtual school created different routine patterns and I expected less from myself. Sleep was off, food routines were off, and general life was off balance. Once I realized that having a routine no matter what was essential, life became more in balanced.

8. We can adapt to difficult situations, and we are resilient.
I worried about my daughter’s school closing. I did not know how she could get the education she needed. I knew my husband and I were not equipped to be her teachers. It took time, but her school figured out how to have quality virtual classes. We were able to set up a routine for her where she was not on a device all day. She had a lot of virtual playdates where she and her friends make DIY projects, talked, and played games.

9. You do not know when your last day on earth will be, cherish the people and the moments.
This was a tough year. We had a few family members who made their transition during the time of COVID, but they did not die of COVID. Actually, we knew only a very few people close to us who got COVID and no one who was extremely sick with it. I heard many stories of loved ones who died of COVID or got extremely sick. There was and is much pain with the loss of so many lives over a relatively short period of time. I was reminded that death can give us a different perspective on life and to appreciate the moments, no matter what they look like.

10. No matter what, kindness is the key.
Lastly, kindness matters. It really does. I felt so grateful for the doctors and nurses who were on the front lines and did their best to assist as many people as possible. I had more psychotherapy clients want sessions than I could assist. People were feeling the stress, loneliness, and fear. I felt it was an honor to help people during this really difficult time. I had such regard for those who kept working at the grocery stores and made sure we could all get the food and essentials we needed. It was a time of helping neighbors and strangers. We were all going through this shared experience that bonded us together.

 

I do not know what the future will hold, and I am grateful to be healthy and incredibly grateful my daughter was able to go back to school. My gym is open, and I love my workouts and do not take them for granted.  

I am embracing the lessons from the time of COVID, and I strive to not forget them. I feel changed in a way that is hard to describe.

 Kim McLaughlin, MA is a Counselor, Speaker, Podcaster, and Inspirational Coach who specializes in working with people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She is the author of the book Feed Your Soul Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food and the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Discovery Your Inspiration

You can find Kim on her podcast Feed Your Soul with Kim and you can find it on all podcast platforms. 

Determine if you are an Emotional Eater by signing up for the free Am I an Emotional Eater Quiz at https://kimmclaughlin.influencersoft.com/FYSU-EE

Finding Happiness: Be serious about play

Finding Happiness: Be serious about play

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I have been creating a whole podcast and blog series on the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (you can find the companion Feed Your Soul with Kim podcast here.) Each month Gretchen takes on a topic related to happiness. She talks about being serious about play. I find it interesting that we would talk about being serious about play when play is about being fun and not serious. I have found in my adulthood that I do not necessarily take time to have play and to commit to the effort to it. I did not say do not have time for play, I said I do not make time for play. There is a difference, and I can get stuck in work and what I have to do. For me, it does take effort to remind myself that I need to be in this matter of play.

How can we be serious about play AND make it a priority?

1. First, we need to find more fun. The starting point I think is to find what is fun and to have more of it. As adults seriousness creeps and that can suck the life out of the fun.

Gretchen encourages us to asked ourselves to ask ourselves,
“what is fun for me?”  She goes into depth about is finding what is fun for you, not what you think should be fun.

She talks about thinking she had to have fun in to way others have fun, like playing chess, getting a pedicure, etc. She realized that it was no fun to have to model our fun after what we THINK should be fun. I encourage you to determine what is fun for you. One way I suggest is reminding yourself that what you did do for fun in the past. Thinking about what I used to do in the past for fun brings up good memories and ideas for me that has been listening to musical theater, collaging and going to the library.

2. Second, Gretchen encourages us to take time to be silly. Being silly can be tough to do in this fast-paced world. Find laughter can be illusive, especially in this year+ of COVID 19. Gretchen talks about silliness being contagious. The phenomenon of “emotional contagion” where you unconsciously pick up emotions from others. Good mood brings out good moods and others.

3. Third, she talks about starting a collection as a way of having fun. I thought this idea a little silly until I realized that I have a collection of dragonfly items that I love. I love to search for the perfect dragonfly item to add to my collection. My collection goes so deep that I got a dragonfly tattoo on my forearm. It brings me joy to see dragonflies and see my dragonfly collection.

4. Fourth, she talks about going off the path, which means to me to do something new, unexpected, and different. Ideas for play are endless and a starting spot can be to do what you used to do for play.  

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I keep list of what are new things I would like to do. I actually have a list of 100 things I would like to do. Going of the path and doing something new can mean being uncomfortable, but it could be well worth it. I do yoga every week and sometimes the poses are well out of my comfort zone. Every time I try a new pose, I feel satisfied. Truthfully, I never thought I would have called anything physically fun, but the workouts I do provide an atmosphere of fun. Getting out of my comfort zone physically is one of the ways of going off the path, for me.

I encourage you to consider how you can go off the path and find something new. This past year+ during the time of COVID 19 we all had to go off the path and it was often not fun. Now I am ready to add more fun in and am excited to explore this idea. 

It is easy to go off the path by simply exploring your neighborhood, walk a different way, go in a different direction down grocery aisles. These are daily easy ways to go off the path. I encourage you to make a list of what you can do for fun and start DOING it. Increasing fun is a fantastic way to increase happiness

Kim McLaughlin, MA is a Counselor, Speaker, Podcaster, and Inspirational Coach who specializes in working with people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She is the author of the book Feed Your Soul Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food and the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Discovery Your Inspiration

You can find Kim on her podcast Feed Your Soul with Kim and you can find it on all podcast platforms. 

Determine if you are an Emotional Eater by signing up for the free Am I an Emotional Eater Quiz at https://kimmclaughlin.influencersoft.com/FYSU-EE

Do you eat your emotions?

Do you eat your emotions?

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You eat your emotions? This sounds like a strange question, right. It also means do you eat when you are lonely, angry, tired, sad, happy, or overwhelmed. I am not talking about occasionally eating over your emotions, I mean often. 

Emotional eating (or stress eating) is using food to make yourself feel better, eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger. … And you often feel worse than you did before because you feel angry with yourself and you have not addressed true hunger with food.

Recently, I asked my community what their challenges with food were and what they wanted me to talk about.  One hundred percent of the people polled said they needed to hear more about emotional eating.

Interestingly, when I talk to people about emotional eating, initially they do not think they are an emotional eater.

They think they just eat because they have not found the right diet or they just like food too much. Once we talk about the ins and outs of emotional eating they resonate with the concept.

This occurred so much that I created the Am I an Emotional Eater Quiz (you can take the quiz here).

One way to determine if you are an emotional eater is to start noticing when do you eat. This can be extremely hard to do. If you have a history of eating mindlessly then noticing feelings that lead to overeating is exceedingly difficult. 

Another way to determine if you are an emotional eater is to look at what you are saying to yourself about food. Do you criticize yourself about your food choices and say they are “good or bad foods”? These thoughts engage the part of your brain that wants to stay stuck. Really food is food, there is no good or bad food. 

Emotional eating also comes when we eat from emotional hunger, not physical hunger. I have talked on the Feed Your Soul with Kim podcast and in my blog about the Four Hungers. 

I think it can be helpful to know the basics of the different kinds of hunger, so you can start noticing what might be leading you to overeat. 

Basically, the Four Hungers are: 

  • Tummy Hunger- the feeling of hunger in your stomach.
  • Heart Hunger- this is the emotional hunger. 
  • Mouth Hunger- the yearning for the taste of a certain food.
  • Head Hunger- the thoughts of food in your head. 

As I stated before we are an emotional eater, we mistake emotional hunger for physical hunger. Responding to emotions for our clues to eat, will generally lead us to overeat. 

What is the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger?

*Emotional hunger can be strong and can feel overpowering. It’s so easy to mistake it for physical hunger. But there are clues you can look for to help you tell physical and emotional hunger apart. Start noticing what your body feels like when you are physically hungry. Some of my clues are my tummy grumbles, low energy, mood starts to dip. 

*Emotional hunger strikes you suddenly. Bam! It hits you quickly and it feels overwhelming and urgent. 

Physical hunger, on the other hand, comes on more gradually, if you are paying attention to it. The urge to eat doesn’t feel as dire or demand instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time).

*Emotional hunger generally turns into mindless eating. You will tend to eat to overfull before you even notice what you are doing. You might have an agreement with yourself that you will only have one or a little, but you end up eating it all.

I hear stories all the time (this is my story too) where you have a container of ice cream and it is gone in one sitting. When you are eating for physical hunger, you can feel in control, conscious and empowered with food. 

*When eating from emotional hunger you do not feel satisfied when you are full. You will notice you are full, but not want to stop. This is when we say, “It tastes so good, I did not want to stop.”  

When eating from physical hunger, you don’t need to get overfull, because you feel physically satisfied. You have satisfied the physical hunger. You cannot satisfy emotional hunger with food.

*Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach. It is a sense of overwhelm and you cannot get the thought of eating out of your head. You feel compelled to eat, not matter what your physical hunger might say. You cannot talk yourself out of it.

Physical hunger is grumbling in your tummy or a hunger pain. You physically feel this type of hunger, it is not emotional. 

Now that you have learned more about emotional eating it can be time to take some action. Here is a step to take NOW:

I know that overeating can be a tough problem and the solution takes one step at a time. The first step is to take the Am I an Emotional Eater quiz. After you have taken the quiz, look at the questions you have said yes to.  Could it be that you are an emotional eater? If the answer is, yes, congratulations you are moving in the direction of peace with food.

Kim McLaughlin, MA is a Counselor, Speaker, Podcaster, and Inspirational Coach who specializes in working with people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. 

She is the author of the book Feed Your Soul Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food and the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Discovery Your Inspiration

You can find Kim on her podcast Feed Your Soul with Kim and you can find it on all podcast platforms. Listen to the podcast focused on emotional eating here

Determine if you are an Emotional Eater by signing up for the free Am I an Emotional Eater Quiz at https://kimmclaughlin.influencersoft.com/FYSU-EE

Finding Happiness ~ Love

Finding Happiness ~ Love

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Could you use more happiness? Is there actually a way to be happier? In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, she challenges us to look at happiness and see what we can do to boost it. Gretchen engages her readers in different concepts each month to build a stronger foundation of happiness.

This week we are looking at finding happiness for the month of February and we are focusing on love. You do not have to be in a marriage or intimate relationship to listen to this podcast, because we cover all forms of relationships: work, home, school, neighborhood and friendships.

Her happiness project is fun and helps us explore the idea of happiness and how to increase it.

Episode 39 –Finding Happiness ~ Love

Join us on the Feed Your Soul with Kim Podcast as we discuss:

  • How can happiness feed our soul?
  • Discover 5 ways to increase your happiness now.
  • Learn how love increases your happiness.

Here is a link to the Subjective Happiness Scale we discussed in the Podcast. http://sonjalyubomirsky.com/subjective-happiness-scale-shs/

End Emotional EatingKim McLaughlin M.A. is a counselor and a motivational coach working with people who engage in emotional eating or binge eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. If you are in need of services contact Kim McLaughlin here.

Kim is the author of the best-selling book Feed Your Soul; Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food. Learn more about her book here.

Kim McLaughlin has been identified as writing one of the Top 50 Blogs about Emotional Eating by the Institute on Emotional Eating. Sign up for her free Special Report: Top Strategies to End Binge Eating here or visit her website at   www.FeedYourSoulTherapy.com.

New You for a New Decade

New You for a New Decade

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailI had the pleasure of being interviewed by my friend Michelle Warnica, on her New You for a New Decade Summit, about my story with food, dieting and mindset. This conversation is a must listen to for a greater understanding about emotional eating, intuitive eating and feeding your soul. I think you will find our conversation interesting and I love Michelle’s questions to help us look at food differently. You can find Michelle in her Facebook Group, Creating Your Blissful Life … https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreatingYourBlissfulLife I found myself sharing a lot of stories about my history with food and dieting that will, I think, resonate with you. We discuss how life is too short to eat crappy food. In addition, we have many suggestions for entering into intuitive eating.

Episode 38 –New You for a New Decade

Join us on the Feed Your Soul with Kim Podcast as we discuss:
  • 3 ways intuitive eating has changed my life (and could change yours).
  • What happens after intuitive eating?
  • 4 things to do NOW if you are struggling with your weight.
  • Learn what I do to feed my soul.
End Emotional EatingKim McLaughlin M.A. is a counselor and a motivational coach working with people who engage in emotional eating or binge eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. If you are in need of services contact Kim McLaughlin here. Kim is the author of the best-selling book Feed Your Soul; Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food. Learn more about her book here. Kim McLaughlin has been identified as writing one of the Top 50 Blogs about Emotional Eating by the Institute on Emotional Eating. Sign up for her free Special Report: Top Strategies to End Binge Eating here or visit her website at   www.FeedYourSoulTherapy.com.
New Year New Mindset

New Year New Mindset

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We are still at the start of the year and there is still all the information about dieting out there. Do you have the same mindset about food that you had last year? If you do, this podcast will help you determine how to look at food, dieting, and your body differently.

This week’s podcast is from a community call I had done previously, and as I listened to it I thought there were so many takeaways that I wanted to share it with you.

Episode 37 – New Year New Mindset

Join us on the Feed Your Soul with Kim Podcast as we discuss:

  • 3 strategies to engage in a new mindset.
  • How does deprivation and rebellion go together?
  • Why losing weight is never good enough.
  • Five steps you can take now to have a different outcome. 

End Emotional EatingKim McLaughlin M.A. is a counselor and a motivational coach working with people who engage in emotional eating or binge eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. If you are in need of services contact Kim McLaughlin here. Kim is the author of the best-selling book Feed Your Soul; Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food. Learn more about her book here. Kim McLaughlin has been identified as writing one of the Top 50 Blogs about Emotional Eating by the Institute on Emotional Eating. Sign up for her free Special Report: Top Strategies to End Binge Eating here or visit her website at   www.FeedYourSoulTherapy.com.

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