3 ways cooking can be self-care
I recently felt like giving it all up.
Waking up in my old teenage bedroom, staring at the ceiling light, negative voices started to take over my mind. “What are you doing with your life?” ” Why did you sell your flat to live back with your parents” “Why did you give up your well-paid corporate job”.
It’s been a really long time since my mental health has taken such a hit, but the truth is that’s what burnout looks like. Since leaving my desk job in 2018, I have given 150% to my business and during the pandemic, I fought tooth and nail not to lose my Peckham flat. The result was a successful online cooking business. YAY! I love what I do. I get to share my view on how cooking can be a positive anchor in your life and teach wonderful people.
However, looking back now on those 4 years, I don’t think I have taken a healthy amount of time off where I wasn’t answering emails or posting content on my social media. Don’t get me wrong. I did it because I love it. But there is a time when you have to just stop and make changes.
Recently, I haven’t made any time for MYSELF. It’s all been about my move and work. Neglecting my needs and my physical, mental and emotional states. Basically, I haven’t practised what I preach to you, Paola. And the result? Not living my best life which is what it should always be about. To the point, my mind was trying to convince me I should walk away from everything I had built in 4 years.
But I remembered I had been here before and I knew that this moment in time was temporary. I had to take action immediately and make myself a priority. Exercise, mediation and journaling have really helped. Basic SELF-CARE.
However, if there is one thing that has proven to me time and time again, is that cooking can be self-care. Eating better food, food I love gives me an instant perk up when I’m having a bad day.
And I can say honestly, that cooking is helping me get through this tough time like it always has. I’m putting all my intentions, energy and belief into it and the cooking gods are working their magic.
Here are 3 reasons why cooking can be the perfect self-care.
When we are feeling low, tired and lacking energy, we can think that ordering a take-away or eating ‘whatever’ is taking care of us as we don’t have to put in any extra thought or effort.
While doing that once in a blue moon is ok, the long-term effects of eating poorly or without any positive intention can contribute to low moods and energy.
While cooking is seen as the act of creating food to stop hunger and give us energy, it has so many superpowers. Cooking is an act to embrace to bring your love of food to your own home. It doesn’t have to be another daily chore you wish you could avoid. It can be your rock if things get tough.
EAT BETTER, FEEL BETTER.
If you choose to eat crap, you will feel like crap. If you don’t get pleasure out of what you eat, then you are essentially ignoring your needs. It’s as simple as that.
However, when you start to eat better, you will just feel better and the one person that can make that happen is yourself. It’s about creating a new delicious self-care habit that over time will have you glowing.
My tips would be to try and plan at least 2-3 meals in a week that you know you love. They can be easy simple and quick. The important thing is that it makes you feel good. Buy your ingredients in advance and put in the effort to make those meals happen. Trust me you won’t regret cooking something that will make you smile.
DE-STRESS IN THE KITCHEN
I know for some people, cooking can be stressful. It’s just not fun. But cooking has been considered a mindful act and can help relax after a frantic busy day. Solely focusing on what you’re cooking, without distractions, can help the daily burdens slip away.
My tips are to try to prep and chop all your ingredients before you start cooking. This makes the cooking process less frantic. Also enjoying your surroundings can make it enjoyable. Play your favourite music. Treat yourself to a cheeky wine while you’re in the kitchen. Finally, I like to clear my kitchen tops and put away what I don’t need. It helps keep my mind uncluttered.
ENJOYING AND SHARING YOUR FOOD WITH OTHERS CAN BOOST YOUR MOOD.
You may cook for people regularly and not feel your act of love feeding them is appreciated. Or you may live on your own and never bother to cook what you really want to eat as ‘what’s the point’ right?. But my Italian/Colombian culture has always proven to be the magic when you enjoy food with others.
My tips are that if you have family or friends who annoyingly ask you what’s for dinner regularly, then why not get them to help you out or set the table or do the washing up after. Give them an insight into what’s going on in the kitchen It will make you feel more appreciated. Plus avoid eating in front of the TV if you can or switch it off. Having no other distractions will mean you can connect over your food and that’s special.
Plus, If you live on your own or never cook for other people often, why not organise a dinner with your faves. Sharing your food with others is such a powerful act. The connections made over a table are priceless and can be a huge confidence booster when people are raving about your food.
If you like this post, then you will enjoy 3 ways cooking can bring you pleasure.
Would you like some help in getting some motivation and kickstart your cooking mojo?
Why not check out my Saucy Society – it’s a monthly membership that’s here to kickstart your cooking mojo alongside an incredible online community all from the comfort of your own kitchen.