Creating a self-care toolbox during quarantine

Are you worried about gaining the #quarantine15?

I'll be honest with you, right back- four years ago, I would have been panicking, a little.

Seriously. So I feel you and I get how overwhelming this can be, all of a sudden being at home, surrounded by food, especially if you've ever struggled with eating due to stress, boredom, overwhelm, anxiety... 🙋🏻‍♀️

That's most of us, right?!

First of all, I want to encourage you that if you ARE eating more than you usually do, turning to food to cope with the stress of what's going on- this is SO normal and I don't want you to feel like there's something wrong with you (you're HUMAN!). And it's ok- to some extent. You will not gain 15 pounds just because you're not moving as much and you might be stress eating a little. You MIGHT if stress eating becomes your MO.

We are limited in our coping mechanisms right now, holed up at home and it can be hard to navigate our feelings through everyone else's feeling that seem to be pouring out onto newspapers, social media and even in our own homes. We can't escape the fact that this is a WEIRD situation we've got going on.

But here's what we can do: we can make lemonade out of sour lemons. We just need to add a little sugar.

And by sugar, I mean taking a BIG deep breath with me (I'm serious- do it RIGHT now, friend).

And creating a NEW self-care toolbox.

Because here is where emotional eating typically comes from:

1. Trying to escape our feelings (we simply don't want to feel them)

2. Trying to grasp for control when we feel out of control

The tools we used in the past might not work right now. This is ok-- how can you create NEW, healthy ways to cope with the way you're feeling and reduce stress if you can't get away from your kids who are going bonkers, your also-stressed-out spouse, your pet that is overwhelmed by all. the. noise, your work that is piling up, the piles around the house...

I think you know it's certainly not trying to control your food (more stress), figuring out how to obsessively exercise in all of it (recipe for failure and exhaustion, real quick) or just give up entirely.

When we create a toolbox of the things that make us feel good, the things that help us to feel calm in the storm, food is no longer needed as our primary way of dealing with the stress.

When we create a toolbox of the things that make us feel good, the things that help us to feel calm in the storm, food is no longer needed as our primary way of dealing with the stress.

Start by asking:

  • What are the things you do for yourself on a daily basis to keep you well?

  • How about weekly?

  • Are there special monthly or quarterly things you do to take care of you?

  • When was the last time you took time, just for YOU?

  • What does this look like, in this season? Have you let all of these things go? Which things are you still keeping, and which could you add back?

If you’ve never created a self care toolbox, now is the time. I’m not talking a physical toolbox, but a list- a list of the things that fill YOUR cup, the things that make YOU feel taken care of, the things that help YOU become a better version of yourself- yes, even in this season.

Because self care is a DAILY practice. Our need to be taken care of doesn't stop because the world is in crisis- in fact, it's even MORE critical. These things should make use feel cared for physically but also mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. They help us to manage stress, build meaningful and fulfilling lives, and experience holistic wellness.

This could include…

  • Going for a walk

  • Having a bath

  • Digging into that book you haven't had the time to read

  • Putting headphones on while you’re cooking dinner

  • Waking up 15 minutes early to journal

  • Prayer or meditation

  • Setting limits on social media

  • Moving your body- either strenuously or taking it easy; whatever YOUR body needs

  • Taking a nap

  • Eating foods that you know feel really good in your body

  • Incorporating play into your life

  • Giving yourself an at-home mani pedi

  • If you are an extroverted person, self care could be a long phone conversation with a friend or a Zoom meeting with a handful of friends

  • If you are an introvert, this might mean more occasional calls with friends when you're stressed and need more alone time (this is ok, but you don't need to be totally isolated)

  • Taking a hike in nature when you are able

  • Cleaning your house so it feels less cluttered, physically and mentally

  • Regular emotional processing and support – with a therapist, counselor, pastor, partner, coach or friend.

Remember this is YOUR self care toolbox. Just because it works for someone else, doesn’t mean it will or should work for you. These things should reduce stress, not add it- so this doesn't need to look rigid or regimented. Think of ideas where you might leave your house and get into nature if you are able, and plenty of things you can do before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. Keep adding to your list as you find things that feel good and fill your cup.

Being PROACTIVE about self care is essential in having a healthy emotional life, and therefore the first step to working around emotional eating.

Being PROACTIVE about self care is essential in having a healthy emotional life, and therefore the first step to working around emotional eating.

It’s really important to note that it takes time for your body to trust that it does not need false, temporary solutions for emotional comfort. It takes time to be able to listen to your body intuitively and know what it truly wants rather than what it thinks it wants, so start with self care. Start with tuning into what your body in more than one area, and taking care of her. It’s the only body you’ll ever get, she deserves to be cared for.

If you like these tips, this is EXACTLY the type of thing I teach in my new course, Uncomplicated Eating. Uncomplicated Eating has been tested by women just like you, who have struggled with their eating and want solutions to find balance in the midst of their crazy lives.

Here is what one tester said about the course:

“Being able to have someone put inner most concerns into thoughts and walk me through how to get past those is so life changing. I’ve always been an emotional eater with PCOS and always assumed I’d fight with food for the rest of my life. Being able to trust myself with food and trust my body has been incredibly eye opening.” -Christina T.

Uncomplicated Eating is on pre-sale through Monday, March 30 (when the whole course rolls out). Get access to the first two modules, plus bonuses- my Uncomplicated Eating Cookbook, Meal Planner and Power Pantry Guide- immediately. Plus, there's a new payment plan I set up just for you so buying something during this time doesn't need to feel like an added stress.

This isn't another meal plan to follow (that's added stress, remember?!). This is a learn-new-routines and claim-back-your-life course. 


+ You've ever struggled with setting goals for your health and actually sticking to them

+ You're seriously worried about the quarantine 15 and don't know what to do with all the food around

+ You feel like it's impossible to tune into your body when life is so crazy

+ You're confused about nutrition and want the simple facts-how do I learn what works for me? 

+ You want to learn new routines for health and wellness that fit in with your life

Ready to check it out? Get the course for $50 off through MONDAY (that includes the payment plan!).

Ditch the stress eating, the anxiety eating, the boredom eating- and eat and live in a way that feels good for you, RIGHT now.

Kristin Dovbniak


I'm Kris! Founder of Healthy Balanced Mama, I'm a holistic health coach, certified intuitive eating counselor, trained chef, and mama of two, and I'm here to guide busy moms like you in stressing less and finding freedom with food through balanced eating and simplified routines around meal planning, meal prep, grocery shopping and cooking with confidence.


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© 2020 Kristin Rugg Dovbniak for Healthy Balanced Mama