As someone struggling with eating disorder, I can tell you that there are things far worse. Although, being addicted to food is not a walk in the park either. Holiday season is usually critical in this respect. World is full of people struggling on different levels with their own demons. Basically, lacking some love. However, should we try beating holiday blues, loneliness and overeating in the first place? Personally, between loneliness and overeating, I would always choose the latter.
What Comfort Food Can Do
It’s no news that junk food causes myriads of disorders. However, it is also difficult to distinguish what exactly we consider to be junk. Until recently, meat in all of its forms was a good source of protein. Nowadays, nutritionists usually recommend only lean meat, chicken and fish, mixed with fresh vegetables, etc. Often, many people are having difficulties organizing their daily routine to include healthy lunch, for example.
And so, they reach out for a quick fix. That’s what fast food does. It causes a chemical reaction that sends messages to your brain saying your needs have been satisfied. Nevertheless, this is usually not so. Or, more precisely, the fix you get is a short term one. Soon, your organism will dissolve all of the usable ingredients (mostly carbohydrates) and you will feel hunger at its bets.
Eating unhealthy food during longer periods of time causes hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke – just to name a few. This is all true and worrisome. And you maybe be asking yourself whether there is anything worse that stuffing yourself with unhealthy comfort food. Well, there is. So, maybe overeating during the holidays is not the number 1 reason for concern.
What Loneliness Does to You
It may come as a surprise, but roughly half of the US population feels lonely and isolated. Last year, a health insurance company Cigna conducted a research among 20,000 adults. The research showed that 56% of adults were surrounded with people with whom they had no close connections. Almost 40% od people claimed that their relationships weren’t meaningful, and that they felt isolated from others.
Social isolation is closely related to loneliness. We can be lonely for many reasons, but if we are socially excluded, the effects of loneliness become stronger. Why? A human is a social being. It is in our core to live in a group and to form bonds.
Furthermore, loneliness is worse than food addiction because it usually entails another type of unhealthy behavior. When you are feeling lonely, the chances are you would reach for a cigarette, or a drink, or too much work. All this can lead to nicotine addiction, alcoholism, exhaustion and further alienation from the society. If I am to choose between too much food or eating unhealthy on one hand and loneliness with its accompanying effects, I choose food.
What You Can Do to Stay Sane
First of all, we are all loved, and we should all make sure not to forget it. Then, in the spirit of true American altruism, the first thing you can do in order to lift off the weight of loneliness from your shoulders is to be kind to people. In case you are one of those individuals losing yourself in too much work, consider charity work. There is no better therapy. Benefits are multiple. You will be able to experience self-worth. Additionally, this can bring few important realizations out to the open. Being confronted with people who are less fortunate does that.
Moreover, choose your friends wisely. If you do not feel close to people you are surrounded with, seek others. I know that nowadays it is all about being stronger, healthier, prettier, more popular, wealthier, having more acquaintances. As you already know, there is no substitute for quality. Try finding one person with whom you can have a meaningful conversation. Your life will change for the better.
Lastly (although this may be the most important advice), seek professional help. If you feel all the weight of the world has crumbled down on you, do not be ashamed or hesitate. Ask for help. There are professionals that can help you get control over your life.
How are you coping with loneliness and holiday blues?