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5 Surprising Ways Cooking Can Boost Your Mental Health

Spending months in quarantine and social distancing, listening to spouts of negative and grim news about the pandemic certainly has an impact on your stress levels. Many will go through the ordeal of getting sick, many will likely have no symptoms at all, but no one will remain immune to the aftermath and the stress […]

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Spending months in quarantine and social distancing, listening to spouts of negative and grim news about the pandemic certainly has an impact on your stress levels. Many will go through the ordeal of getting sick, many will likely have no symptoms at all, but no one will remain immune to the aftermath and the stress of it all. In all of this chaos, finding activities that will soothe your mind and allow you to nourish yourself from within is essential.

One simple habit is often overlooked as we’re used to searching for more complicated, intricate actions to replace them, forgetting just how effective simple steps can be. In this case, we’re talking about cooking. This essential skill can be so much more than a part of your routine and a way to stick to a diet plan. It can be a source of joy, a way to feed your mind and your curiosity, and a stress-relieving technique. Here are a few perks you can expect from cooking that can help you through difficult times.

Unleashing your creative spirit

The imposed limitations on social interactions, travel bans, and all other restrictions make us feel restless. Of course, you should aim to transform your exercise routine to be home-friendly, and you should find alternative ways to communicate with friends, for instance, via video conferencing apps. 

As for your creativity? You can unleash your imagination and explore all kinds of possibilities simply by visiting your kitchen. You’ll discover new flavors, combinations, expand your cooking repertoire with new recipes, and you’ll certainly learn to appreciate these small pleasures in life such as a hearty family meal. 

Traveling the world in your kitchen

Now that travel is a luxury we might not experience too soon, and now that many of us have canceled our exotic getaways and summer vacations, sitting cooped up in your home might make you feel those travel jitters waking up deep in your core. The simplest way to bring the world to your home is through tasty, exotic meals you’d otherwise taste, say, on the streets of Vietnam or the bustling eateries in China.

Diversify your own cooking menu with a versatile Chinese dishes list and master the art of preparing these recipes at home, with as much creative freedom as you’d like. Suddenly, you’ll have a menu inspired by the Sichuan province, and you’ll be able to learn more about those unique traits these culinary treats possess. Cooking can open another door for bonding with other cultures and for learning about them from the safety of your home.

Nourishment as its own reward

Whether you cook just for yourself, for your entire family, or you even donate your time and skill to make meals for those in need, the rewarding aspect of cooking is all it takes to give new meaning to your life. It amplifies your community connections, it helps you give back to the people you care about, and it lets you nurture others through such a simple activity. Finally, it’s a way to take care of yourself, and knowing that a delicious meal awaits at the end of your effort is enough to keep you engaged and feeling driven.

Meditation through cooking

So far, we’ve all heard about the many advantages of meditation and its incredible effect on our lives. Some people find it extremely difficult to meditate sitting or lying down, so active meditation, or meditation in motion is something of an alternative that’s both effective and practical. Why not use cooking as a meditative strategy? It’s a form of aromatherapy that will immerse you in soothing fragrances and aromas, let you experience new and exotic dishes, and let your imagination run wild. 

Boosting your quality of life

We are creatures of habit, and our bodies respond to these habits depending on how nourishing and positive they are. The same applies to our minds and souls. When you introduce regular cooking sessions that have a clear goal, such as to refine your diet and reduce your processed food intake, you’ll quickly notice the changes in the quality of your life. 

Your energy levels will soar, you will regulate your digestion, your beauty regime will suddenly be far simpler (especially if you get enough beauty sleep), and your stress levels will deflate. Cooking is an essential skill, but one that has the potential to enhance your life all around. 

Like physical exercise or hydration, cooking can become part of your self-care routine to serve more than just a practical purpose. Nourishment is, of course, rewarding on its own, but when you become more mindful through your cooking practice, improve your skills, and start using this activity to relieve stress, you’ll also set the stage for utilizing other simple activities in a similar way. Suddenly, taking a shower or cleaning your home will become yet another opportunity to meditate, breathe, and get creative, and take better care of yourself one step at a time.

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