Have you ever heard some people say they turn to food when they feel stressed? Cooking is the ultimate stress reliever, and eating is a reward. You can reduce stress with cooking and baking and enjoy the products of your hard work afterwards.
When you cook, you enjoy great times in the kitchen, and your stress melts away. Although it may not seem like it at first, cooking is like any other creative activity that you might engage in to keep your head from thinking about a stressful day.
Cooking as a stress reliever is backed by science. According to studies, people who take part in small creative activities every day have lower chances of succumbing to stress and falling into depression. When you complete a small task, you feel good about yourself. This goes a long way into making you a happier and healthier person. Just like an artist gets satisfaction seeing their project come to life, so does a cook taking in the sweet aroma of food they have made.
Engage your creativity through cooking
One way to forget that you are stressed is to engage with creating something. When you engage in a creative project, your mind will not only be involved but also relaxed, making you happier. Research conducted on 658 people for two weeks found that small creative tasks such as cooking and baking gave people who were once stressed a new perspective and energy.
Emotions can either benefit or hamper your creativity. When you do something you love, you create the best project that you can. A cook will create the best meals when they are stressed just as a poet will write the best poems from a broken heart.
Besides the satisfaction that comes with eating food that you have cooked, when you take part in small creative projects such as cooking, you will also get a feeling of self-worth and personal growth. Throughout the day, you’ll think of ways to improve your skills and methods which will help distract you from other stressful thoughts.
Cooking is therapeutic
When you are dealing with stress, cooking can be therapeutic for you. It all starts with aromatherapy – this refers to the feeling you get when you smell a calming aroma. Such as the frying of onions, or the aroma of spices in your food. Aromatherapy is a real stress reliever. Instead of buying an aromatherapy candle to kick the stress out, why not fry onions and add spices to create a delicious and healthy meal.
Besides the aromatherapy associated with food, the activities in the kitchen, including measuring, following recipes, cracking eggs, cutting, chopping, rolling, and stirring among others, make you feel like you are in control. Again, when you bake or make a meal, you have small tasks to concentrate on to take your mind off whatever is stressing you – this focus can have the same effect as meditation. For you to make a delicious and healthy meal, you have to be in the moment measuring and adding ingredients and stirring and tasting. These small tasks can help you improve your mental health.
Share foods with family
The presence of family and friends around will be exciting, taking your mind off of stressful thoughts. After making a delicious meal and sharing it with your family, they may praise your food which will make you pleased that you cooked.
You can organize a picnic for your family involving any of your favourite dishes. The time you spend with your family is enough time to unwind. You can also host or attend a barbecue with friends. Talking to friends over a barbecue helps you offload the stress.
Reward yourself – make cooking a ritual
Cooking is one way to reward yourself for hard work. Like a coffee lover wakes up to brew a cup of coffee every morning, you can make cooking a ritual – something you do every day, and it makes you happy. To make cooking a ritual, you will need hundreds of recipes to try out. You can schedule recipes to try throughout a week and then shop for all of the ingredients over the weekend. This way, you will not have to stress about planning your meals every day.
Cook for a cause and show off your skills
Do you know underprivileged people who could use your cooking skills? When you cook for a cause, you feel good about yourself, and this is the start of your stress-fighting journey. You could spend time in a children’s home or soup kitchen helping to make meals. At the end of the day, you may not even remember that you were stressed only hours ago. Cooking for a cause can also mean cooking for an audience. This is a great opportunity to show off some of your skills in the kitchen and impress all the people you are feeding.
Cooking is like any other creative activity. A knife is to a chef what a brush is to a painter. However, for cooking to relieve your stress you need to lose yourself in the process. You have to treat cooking as an art and strive to make better meals every day.