Stress can be overwhelming. Perhaps it shows through your nail-biting, your fidgeting, or your sleepless nights. You feel as if you are under a great deal of stress, and you are searching for relief. Your ability to deal with stress does not always require expensive therapies. There are many stress reduction strategies you could use. Perhaps one of the best ways to deal with stress is one of the easiest: cooking.
It takes a great deal of patience and persistence to become an excellent cook. Some of your experiments will inevitably end up in the wastebasket or down the garbage disposal. Yet, there is something incredibly relaxing about sautéing onions, grilling pork, or barbecuing chicken. You can become mesmerized by the scent of your culinary sensations. The process of slicing, chopping, or stirring can be highly therapeutic. You can feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a good meal which can further reduce your stress level. Cooking is an art as well as a science.
If you decide to take up cooking as a hobby, it is best if you begin by selecting a good cookbook. There are even cookbooks that promise you stress-free entertaining. Usually, cookbooks are loaded with interesting, eye-catching pictures. Purchasing the cookbook can be a relaxing experience in and of itself. You can also pore over delectable recipes, imagining how to prepare them in your kitchen.
Next, you might want to invest in some practical cooking supplies. This will help to relieve your stress when the time to cook arrives. Make sure that you have a good set of knives, a colander, an array of sauce pans and skillets, and a collection of interesting plates to set your creations on. Planning and staging your tools will help to ensure that cooking is an activity that helps you deal with stress, and not add stress to your busy schedule. The better prepared you are, the less stress you will experience in the kitchen.
Then, it is time to head to the grocery store. Selecting recipes that require exotic ingredients may add to your stress. Start with ingredients that are currently in season since they will make the tastiest entrees.
It is best if you have prepared a list in advance based upon the recipes you hope to make. This will save you stress, time, and possibly money at the supermarket. You do not want to be rushed, so make sure that you schedule enough time to go through the grocery store. Make the shopping experience part of relaxation you are trying to achieve. In addition to the items needed for your recipes, it is a good idea to pick up some supplies. For instance, you should always have flour, sugar, milk, eggs, and a collection of spices on hand.
To use cooking as a source of relaxation you need to start slow. Deciding to make a seven-course meal for a party of twelve as your first attempt at this hobby, will most likely add to your stress. In order to minimize your stress level, it is best if you can start by preparing meals for yourself or for close family members. After you become proficient, you might want to graduate to dinner parties, but do not expect to produce a seven-course meal during your first few attempts at gourmet cooking. Select menu items that appeal to you; chances are they will appeal to your family and guests as well.
Another possible stress-reducer is a cooking class. Such classes are often offered at a local community center or community colleges. Do not take the course for credit—take it for fun. The idea is to have a relaxing time by the stove. You will enjoy camaraderie with other students and you might even socialize with them after class.
Taking a course can expand your horizons, helping you to become a well-rounded person. Getting away from your daily routine, making new friends who may share their recipes with you, will help you deal with stress.
It is true that cooking can be stressful. However, if you permit yourself plenty of time to cook, you choose recipes that you enjoy, and you look at it as a hobby rather than drudgery, cooking can be quite relaxing and can actually help lower your blood pressure. Having to clean after cooking can add to your stress. As you become more proficient at cooking you will find it more relaxing and you will learn to clean while you are cooking. With cooking there is always waiting time. Use that time to clean your work space. You will find that you can probably clean and put away most things while you are cooking.
Learning how to prepare healthy meals is an art in itself. One thing you’ll want to watch when cooking is portion control. If you make too much pasta, you might be tempted to overeat, causing health problems on down the road. Vacuum sealing and freezing your entrees will let you enjoy the meal at another time when you may not have as much time to cook. Also, it is important to cook meals that are heart-healthy and that are not loaded with sugar and calories. Otherwise, you could face the stress of battling a weight problem. However, if you make sure that you cook plenty of vegetable dishes, you limit the number of desserts you prepare, and you keep close track of your carbohydrate intake, cooking can be a pleasant, stress-reducing experience.
The more proficient you become at cooking, the more you will look forward to it, and the less stressed you will feel. Viewing cooking as a hobby will give you a daily activity to help you deal with stress.