You’ve seen it; rows and rows of empty shelves at the grocery store. Carts piled high with food and paper goods. Panic buying, they call it, but what if it begins with something more primal?
If you look at the pyramid representing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; food, water, warmth and rest are at the base of the tier and are defined as Deficiency Needs. These needs arise when there is a real or perceived lack in a person’s life. The longer this lack remains, the more the desire to fulfill the need. Currently, the fear of shelter-in-place has many people flocking to grocery stores to stock up on items to meet this need, sometimes in excess.
If you read any of the local government closure orders, food and the supply chain are considered essential services and remain open regardless of the shelter-in-place. There is more than enough food to go around and the opportunity to get it. Those quarantined or self-isolating can have food delivered.
Cravings are intensified during a crisis. Anxiety sufferers tend to reach for salty, crunchy foods. Bread and pasta people need calming and comforting. Cookies, cakes and pies represent hugs, pleasure and reassurance. Dairy works as an antidepressant. Think about which shelves in the stores are the most plundered. In the book “Constant Craving” by Doreen Virtue (Hay House, 1995), she explains the emotional needs behind food cravings and how to overcome them.
Food cravings tend to be our first go-to for emotional comfort. As you reach for that bag of chips, stop for a moment and listen to your thoughts. Are you stressed? Do you have another option besides eating, unless you are truly hungry in which case, you are better off grabbing a crunchy carrot. If you are housebound can you do some form of exercise to burn off the stress? Maybe even throwing a pillow at the wall will help. Do you live in an area where you can safely get out and walk or run, while maintaining social distancing?
Be mindful of your need for extra food. When we come out of this pandemic, we don’t want to be carrying an extra load of body fat. Tend to your emotional needs first. Cry, scream, write letters and burn them, meditate, talk to the dog or cat, sit outside in the sunshine, walk, run, anything to keep from stuffing yourself with food. You’ll be glad you did.