Baking Through Stress

The global Covid-19 pandemic has changed the everyday lives of most people in the world. With these changes,  everyone is looking for ways to entertain themselves, relieve stress and anxiety, find new hobbies, or change-up their routine.
If you haven't noticed the headlines, you may have noticed the baking section of your local grocery store looking a little more bare these days. One thing seems clear, though: people are baking more now, than ever.
So, if you've been thinking about picking up a new hobby, let this be our official recommendation to start baking. And here's why it might be just what you need during this unprecedented time:
In a discussion with Donna Pincus, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, she told the Huffington Post “Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression. There’s a lot of literature for connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing. Whether it’s painting or it’s making music or baking, there is a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.” 
When you're baking you're in control of what you create. There are countless ways to personalize your bake to make it a reflection of your preferences. From flavours to decorations, baking allows you to say something about yourself with every creation.
It's okay if "mindfulness" is a foreign topic for you. It's defined as "the psychological process of purposely bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment." Many studies point to the efficacy of mindfulness in reducing stress. There is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness– it's about finding a practice that works best for you!
Because baking is such a detail-oriented activity, it's a great way to practice mindfulness. It's also a great way to turn off the TV and redirect your attention away from the news– a lot of which is pretty scary these days. The precision and concentration it takes to bake is a great way to bring your full attention to measuring, kneading, resting, and baking your creation. Focusing attention on your bake is a great way to settle into a mental groove and have control over a process that is rewarding and yummy.
Whether you bake for yourself, friends, or family, the creations you make are an act of love. Sharing baked goods with loved ones communicates your appreciation for them and your desire to nourish them.
Making something from scratch to share with those around you who are also dealing with the stress of our new reality is an expression of love and consideration. We all know how good homemade cookies are, and they're even sweeter when they're made especially for you.
While children are out of school, parents are looking for ways to keep their brains engaged without defaulting to technology. This isn't a small task, and any parent with children home right now would tell you that. Baking is a great way to practice motor skills, how to follow directions, or for teaching more complex topics like fractions, calculating cooking times, and patience.
While we're collectively grappling with the changes we're experiencing, now is an ideal time to try a new hobby or develop skills you may already have. Baking is a great way to reduce stress, create, communicate to loved ones, and entertain all age groups. We may be stuck at home right now, and things might be different, but it's also an opportunity to get in the kitchen and bake up something delicious!
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