Do you feel as if you are under a great deal of stress, and are you searching for relief? While there are many stress reduction strategies and techniques, here’s one that perhaps you haven’t thought of or tried: cooking.
Cooking is an art as well as a science. It takes a great deal of patience and persistence to become a great cook, but you don’t have to be perfect. In fact, some of your experiments will inevitably end up in the wastebasket or down the garbage disposal. Cooking is about creativity and fun. There is something incredibly relaxing about sautéing onions, grilling chicken, or even barbecuing pork. Cooking is an opportunity to experiment and try new things. When you cook, you also become mesmerized by the scent of your culinary sensations. The process of stirring, chopping, or slicing can be highly therapeutic and meditative. You also feel a sense of accomplishment the end of a good meal which can further reduce your stress level.
If you plan to take up cooking as a hobby, it is best if you begin by purchasing a good cookbook. There are even cookbooks dedicated to stress-free entertaining. Selecting the cookbook can be a relaxing experience in and of itself. Usually, cookbooks are loaded with interesting, eye-catching pictures. Selecting the right one for you can be fun.
Next, you might want to invest in some sensible cooking supplies. This will help to alleviate your stress when the time to cook arrives. Make sure that you have aprons, a grater, 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. The better prepared you are, the less stress you will experience in the kitchen.
Once you have the right utensils, take time to head to the grocery store. It’s best if you have prepared a list in advance based upon the recipes you hope to make. This will save you time, stress, and money. Make sure that you schedule enough time to go through the grocery store. Think about is a journey of exploration into new things. If you are not sure about something, make a point of asking other people in the story. Let them know what you are going to cook and get their ideas too.
Start by preparing meals for yourself or close family members. After you have gained a little bit of confidence, you might want to graduate to dinner parties, but don’t 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 as well.
Another fun and relaxing thing to do is take a cooking class. They are often offered at local community centers, YWCA’s, or community colleges. Don’t take the course for credit, be sure to take it for fun. The idea is to get your creative juices flowing. You’ll find that you may even enjoy camaraderie with other students and you might even socialize with them after class.
It is true that cooking can be stressful. After all, if you have five children to feed, you’re low on food, and you have a baby who’s crying, meal time can be stress time. However, if you give yourself plenty of time to cook, 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.
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. Also, it can be 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. Make sure that you cook lots of vegetable dishes, and limit the number of desserts you prepare. Keep track of your carbohydrate intake. The more practiced you become at gourmet cooking, the more you will look forward to it, and the less stressed you will feel.