I know, I know…as a mother, cooking can seem like (and sometimes is) the last thing you want to do. I have many of these kinds of days where we end up getting take out. But hear me out as to why cooking can actually be self care.
I think we can all agree that cooking is a hobby just as much as it can be a profession.
I would never consider myself a chef, but my daughter would. She is always telling me I can be on Masterchef. I CANNOT, trust me.
But I find a lot of joy in cooking. The entire process usually makes me pretty happy. I turn on the radio and pour me the optional glass of wine. And I just have my moment.
My entire family depends on me for food. Lily is 9 and Jamie does not cook. So I feel like during this time is when they both will leave me alone for an hour so I can focus on getting dinner on plates.
I know that with having little ones, spending time in the kitchen is not a solo affair. But if they are a old enough to understand Mom needing time to herself, I suggest sitting them down to be honest and explain it to them. Or if you have a partner asking them to keep the kids under wraps. Even if it is only once or twice a week that you get it, try to. Invite a friend over and offer to feed them while they watch them.
The reason I am so adamant on trying to get you to do this alone is so you can focus on YOU.
Cooking is an art. Cooking is creative. Cooking is self care.
When you know you are getting that alone time in the kitchen, make a plan! Follow this plan every single time because it will lead to a true act of self care.
- Pick out a new recipe. That’s right, something brand new. Maybe pick off your Pinterest board something that you have been really wanting to make. I feel like picking a new recipe to prepare leads to excitement. I enjoy going grocery shopping for all of it and I think that creating a new dish is so much fun.
- Put on music while you cook. Listening to music is an act of self care in itself. I also would recommend watching something on Netflix. Book on tape! Anything that you find entertaining that is hands free.
- Clean up as you go. This isn’t something I am the best at and my poor partner or daughter end up having to clean up after me and guilt sets in. So my advice is to always clean up as you go so the stress of a mess is elevated.
That’s it. So imagine this: new recipe, maybe new ingredients, a way to prepare food to learn, your music playing, dancing around the kitchen as you cook, a glass of wine in your hand, and your own time away from everyone else.
It brings out your creative side and also boosts your self esteem. There is nothing better than watching your family enjoy the meal you made for them. Poor Jamie barely gets done with one bite before I am like, “DO YOU LIKE IT?”
I know this isn’t a self care practice that many would consider fun. But if you don’t know how to cook, learning to cook is a wonderful hobby to pick up. Not only is the process soothing, but you are giving thanks to your body. The cleaner the food the better it is.
So do me one favor. Pick one day next week. Plan it so you can be alone as possible. Go on your Pinterest and find something you want to try. Make sure to pick something that you know you would like unless you are in the mood to experiment. Play your music. And find joy in the moment.
Cutting, chopping, measuring, mixing, tasting…use all your senses the entire time as well. Really take into account every single step and do not rush. Enjoy your time!
Thats it from me guys. I hope I opened your eyes as to how wonderful cooking can actually be for your mental health.