A word from Amy Neilson, local fitness and nutrition coach


Look for fixes that will actually help ease that helpless feeling

The global situation seems pretty dire. If we aren’t concerned our friends and family are about to come down with Omicron and we might face isolation (again), we’re angry at people’s lives being taken on the other side of the globe, in a situation that we (from our little corner of the South Pacific) are pretty helpless to stop. There is no right answer.

Easy pleasure

In times like these we tend to turn to easy fixes. Another scroll of an Instagram feed, five more minutes on TikTok, another beer, cigarette, or piece of chocolate, because the last one tasted soooo damn good. That’s because our brains are wired to want to feel safe, secure and happy. As our brains struggle, we’re more likely to seek out the easiest dopamine (happy hormone) hit available.

Sugar sugar

Sugar is easy to turn to. It’s also more accessible, acceptable and more addictive than cocaine (according to studies), so not many of us manage to say “no”. Many countries reported sales of sugar laden foods soaring during the pandemic, despite the fact our biggest killers (heart disease and other illness associated with metabolic dysfunction) are still more likely to cause our health to deteriorate than Covid-19. This is one example of how our bodies and brains struggle to tell what is good for us during times of stress.

Sugar, swiping and sipping

Problem is, taking these easy routes to feeling better is not just damaging our bodies but also our brains. Every time we succumb to another piece of chocolate, or another swipe through reels, our brain chemistry alters to want more. While we’re in a vulnerable state, stressed about the state of the world, these simple addictions are becoming more prevalent than ever.

So, how do we stop?

Well, here are a few things you may not realise you are choosing as a way out of how we’re all feeling. It’s important to note that all these things are completely fine, it’s over consumption that can become the issue.

Easy fixes you think will help:

  • Switching on the news (to feel informed)
  • Scrolling Instagram (distraction)
  • Another drink (to switch off and escape)
  • Another doughnut, treat, hit from the lolly jar (simple, easy, pleasure)
  • Another smoke/vape/CBD hit (to ease anxiety)
  • These things feel great at the time but leave us wanting more, without any real feeling of ease.
  • Things that will actually help most of us:
  • Moving your body (get your endorphins flowing)
  • Making a home-cooked meal (forcing the brain to focus on simple things)
  • Switching your phone to flight mode (removing distraction)
  • Turning off the news (although good to be informed, you don’t need to know everything, all the time)
  • Catching up with a friend rather than “liking” their post (wholesome and real)
  • Spending device free time with family (face-to-face, emotional connection)
  • Meditation

How will you try to look after yourself this week? Let me know with a message to @amysfitnessandnutrition on Facebook or Instagram or drop me a line at 027 265 0350.