We’ve all done it. Ate the entire tub of ice cream or the family size bag of sweets because we feel down. It helps, it comforts us. Have you ever stood in the kitchen while a meal is being made and listened to all the sounds going on around you? It’s soothing. Have you ever been cooking and suddenly snapped out of your own little world that you’ve been lost in for the past 20 minutes?
Food and cooking are good for your mental health. Some counsellors are recommending cooking as a therapy tool for those who suffer from depression or anxiety and other mental health issues. Easy recipes in particular seem to carry strong mental health benefits because it encourages focus, with recent phycological studies also claiming cooking can boost creativity and happiness.
There are many reasons to start cooking at home, not just for your mental health, but here are our top 5 mental health benefits of cooking.
A Psychologist with the University of Otago in New Zealand found that being creative, even just for a little bit, each day made people feel like they were “flourishing”, people felt that they were growing and were more positive about their days ahead.
So, get in the kitchen and get creative. Try a new ingredient you’ve never had before, take a boring recipe that you’ve had millions of time and swap out a few of the ingredients and create your own version of it.
Connecting with others
Cooking at home and getting other people involved can be fun, loneliness and the feeling of being alone is on the biggest issues with mental health. Ask your friends or family to get in the kitchen with you, delegate tasks and just be with each other! You could make home-made pizzas and everyone can have their own toppings, this is also a great family friendly recipe to get the kids involved.
Cooking together gives you quality time to communicate and gives a sense of community, safety and comfort.
Eating and feeling healthy
Mental health and physical health are linked. People who cook and eat at home tend to be healthier than people who eat out regularly, so try to have a few nights at home cooking for yourself. Try to have a varied and balanced diet but enjoy food, some foods have higher levels of serotonin which is a natural mood stabiliser, try to incorporate some of this into your meals.
Learning to cook can have a positive impact on your relationship with food, if you’ve never been brought up around food and haven’t really tried a lot of different cuisines then getting in the kitchen can improve your confidence with food.
Set an achievable goal and do it. It’s something a lot of health professionals recommend doing, take little steps to work towards a goal and the sense of accomplishment can boost your self-esteem. It may not seem a lot but it encourages positive, goal-oriented behaviour in other aspects of life.
The best part about cooking at home? It saves money! And we all know saving money has a very positive effect on our mental state.
So next time you’re having a bad day, instead of reaching for that takeaway menu and firing up Netflix, head to the kitchen, grab your EezyFood recipe and warm up the oven. You may find yourself in a better mood after you’ve had a homecooked meal.