Coping with anxiety, food and mood during the pandemic

Coping with coronavirus anxiety

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Do you find yourself worrying about the current situation with the corona virus? Is the situation causing anxious feelings? This is all very normal, however, worrying can soon become full time preoccupation. With little room to focus on other things.

Relaxation techniques can be a great support at times like this, one of these is to schedule in time for your worries. When you are feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts or unable to relax, spend 15 minutes writing down your feelings. Once those 15 minutes are over, try not to revisit your worries and instead do something else. Some can find it useful to schedule in worry time once a day. If there are particular life events that are troubling you, this method can help in containing your worries. This can work as a safe space for you to reflect on your feelings without overwhelming you throughout the day.

Another useful tool is creating a worry box, which will enable you to write down each worry that you have and pop it in the box. The box will help to let go of your worries so that you can then concentrate on another task. What you do with the notes is up to you. You may want to look at them at the end of the week or simply throw them away. It may also help with realising that some of these worries were unfounded.


Food and Mood

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What we eat can impact our mood, either in a positive way or a negative. When we are not feeling well, we may either restrict the amount of food we eat or comfort eat, which can cause an instant rush of blood sugar and lead to a crash. These fluctuations are what can cause changes in mood and energy.

When we restrict food, this may help us feel in control and also assist in numbing our feelings as we don’t deal with the situation causing the worry. But this can cause us to feel worse as the situation remains the same and we may end up with health issues such as constipation from lack of eating the correct foods.

Eating foods such as cakes, cheese, bread, biscuits, alcohol and fizzy drinks can lead to low moods, as sugar in these foods causes your blood sugar level to rise sharply. This then leads to you experiencing a sugar low due the sugar in your blood decreasing. The impact of this can range from anxiety, trouble concentrating, tiredness, depression and irritation. Therefore, these foods should be eaten sparingly.

So what should you be doing to help your mood?

It’s important to eat regularly, also to have breakfast and get enough sleep, which will all help in keeping energy levels high. By eating foods that are digested slowly, this will help prevent blood sugar levels fluctuating.

Also, limit the amount of caffeine you are consuming during the day, as drinking too much coffee and tea and can impact sleep as well as cause fatigue and headaches. At the same time try and increase the amount of water you are drinking throughout the day, it will help with staying healthy as water helps maintain blood pressure as well as other benefits. The recommendation is to drink 6-8 glasses throughout the day

Aim to eat five pieces of fruits and vegetables a day. This could be through fresh, tinned, dried, frozen or juiced methods. As a general rule one portion is about the size of your palm. So this could be seven cherry tomatoes or three pieces of broccoli florets.

Check out some recipes below to get you started.

Store cupboard and frozen food recipes

Tuna and tomato pasta bake – serves 4


  • 500g of any pasta you have at home
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml double cream
  • 200g of any tinned or frozen vegetables such as sweetcorn, peas or mixed vegetables
  • 3 x 120g cans tuna, drained
  • 150g of any cheese you have grated


  1. Boil a large saucepan of salted water and then cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the recommended time
  2. Pour the tomatoes into a pan and simmer for 5 minutes and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream and continue simmering for a further 5 minutes
  3. Drain the pasta and add the tomato and cream sauce, any vegetables you are using and the tuna.
  4. Layer the mixture into a baking dish whilst adding the cheese in between each layer, top the dish with cheese. Put the dish under the grill for around 5 minutes until the cheese has melted/turned golden brown


Red lentil and tomato soup – serves 4


  • 200g red lentils
  • 1 and ½ pints stock (one stock cube in 1 and ½ pints of water)
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of dried herbs (parsley, coriander or mixed herbs are all good options)


  1. Place the lentils into the stock and bring to the boil before simmering for 10 minutes
  2. Cover the pan with a lid and continue simmering for another 15 minutes
  3. Add the tomatoes, herbs and salt and pepper to the lentils. Either using a stick blender or a blender, blitz until smooth
  4. Continue to simmer until the soup is thickened


Post Author: Pavan Pattar

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