by Megan Dean
Public service announcement: Stress eating is a coping mechanism. It is not morally bad. It does not mean you are “out of control” or weak-willed. It does not make you a bad or lazy or sloppy person. We all need coping mechanisms over the next while, and stress eating is just one of them.
Coping mechanisms can be more or less effective and have different pros and cons. If stress eating isn’t helping you feel calmer or has cons you don’t like (like giving you indigestion) then expand your coping mechanism toolbox—try dancing, a vigorous workout, journaling, tv, venting to a loved one, etc etc. (There are lots of suggestions circulating online right now.) But if you still want to stress eat that is fine.
Remember that you are not a bad person if you eat more (or less) than you usually would during this time. Or any time. The amount you eat has nothing to do with your worth as a human being. I hope everyone can let go of any shame they feel about needing coping mechanisms and creature comforts right now (and always). We are human beings and humans need these things. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Megan Dean is the Chauncey Truax Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in Philosophy at Hamilton College, in central New York. Her current research focuses on ethical issues related to eating. She usually enjoys eating and considers that an achievement.