How cooking can help you unwind and relax after a long day
Stress has engulfed every aspect of our lives and lucky are those, the handful few, who can effectively cope with it. Not often do we get a chance to switch off and be able to introspect and do something that truly relaxes us. Therefore, it is NOW that you care for your mental health.
After a long tiring day at work, you don’t usually look forward to coming back home and cooking food, adding another task to your never-ending to-do list, but did you know it has been scientifically proven that cooking food and the process of preparation can help you de-stress?!
Walking into your kitchen as you light your gas stove and admire the aesthetic appeal of your cookware range, you can tick off a task while you sing, dance and cook to decompress! According to Julie Ohana, a culinary art therapist from Michigan, USA, a group of experts are using cooking as a therapeutic tool and believe that "coming home to cook can be a very productive way to unwind, decompress and relax”.
Read along to find out how cooking is the new self-care routine you didn’t even know you need.
╰┈➤ Give the brain a break!
It is very difficult to disconnect from work and other things that keep us occupied throughout the day, and this can leave you feeling exhausted. Leave the worries of the world behind and look forward to cooking your comfort food with all your sincerity. The process of cooking directs your focus into a singular activity which naturally eases the mind. It also gives a sense of control that has a calming effect almost instantly.
╰┈➤ Explore your creative side!
For a lot of us, our routine feels mundane and boredom starts to set in very easily. Cooking can help add that spice of challenging factor that you need in life. This not only helps in building your culinary knowledge, the texture and smell of ingredients and the will to try new flavours and create your recipes but will also create a sense of freedom that will boost your confidence and refresh your mind. And cookware that is just as versatile and functional as it is beautiful, makes it all the more convenient.
╰┈➤ Cook to connect!
The more the merrier! It is always so much more fun when you cook with and for your loved ones. So why not call them over the next time you’re planning on cooking and make a get-together out of it? And of course, you can boost your cooking skills a little too!
╰┈➤ Smell to destress!
The smell of frying onions, or freshly baked bread, the waffles trying crispy in the waffle maker and the saffron in that kullhar chai - that fragrance you can recall and smile right now is proof that the smell of your favourite food and the process of preparing it curbs stress hormones. Now you know why aromatherapy works as wonderfully as it does! Another fact is that while you are cooking, you focus on the smell of the ingredients to understand how prepared the food is so that you don’t overcook to burn it. Well, isn’t that some distraction now?
Also Read: Back to Basics: 5 Classic Recipes Every Home Cook Should Know
╰┈➤ Reap what you sow!
All that patience and perseverance to cook your comfort food and the joy of curling up on the couch and relishing it to the last bite is just the cherry on the cake you need. The encouragement you get from your loved ones when they enjoy the food you cooked, or you make the most of it by yourself, the sense of contentment is very real!
➤ Recipe to recuperate:
And now that we have successfully established that cooking is therapeutic, let us help you with how you can use it without any major adjustments in your already packed schedule. Let it be more like an experience and less of just another obligation.
Keep it simple
You don’t need to become a Michelin-star chef on Day 1. Take it easy and cook what you like in the simplest ways possible, also leaving enough room for you to try experiments with your taste buds.
What's Plan B?
Let's be realistic now. Not every dish you prepare will be just how you imagined but that is part of the learning process. Always have some leftovers, not just for the days it didn’t turn out okay, but also for the days you have zero energy to prepare.
With all that effort you are putting in, be mindful of the activities and enjoy the experience of cooking. Choose the ingredients intentionally and it might just motivate you to make healthier choices.
We recommend that it is time you turn cooking into a hobby and not a chore and have fun while you’re at it!