Why cooking is so important to my mental health

It's been six weeks since I have been furloughed from work and let me tell you, I'm all over the place. I always thought I enjoyed my own company and relished in being alone. But I have discovered that whilst I do like my own company, I just don't like to be alone with my own thoughts. I am complete over-thinker of situations and a worrier by nature. This current situation has made me into a complete bundle of nervous energy and I feel utterly exhausted in my day-to-day life. So I have, like so many other people, turned to my kitchen as a coping mechanism.

I've always been a keen cook and this seems to have intensified during the restrictions. I find pouring over a recipe for an hour or two can really help to clear my mind. My mind concentrates on what is in front of me rather than whirling away like a tornado and causing me to feel on edge. For a moment, after I've made something delicious, I feel normal again and not trapped in this 'new normal' everyone seems to be banging on about.

What I put inside my body each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner seems to be the only thing in my control at the minute. I can't control anything else in the world. This is something very difficult to comprehend for someone who is an obsessive planner and control freak. But if I want to have a lasagne for dinner then I can make that lasagne!

I am cooking and baking far too much than a two-person household needs. We try to eat it all but sometimes we just can't before it goes bad. So we are doing numerous drop-offs on our daily exercise during the week. We're lucky we live within walking distance of most of our friends so we haven't felt as isolated as some people. Dropping off a slice of banana bread or a loaf of sourdough is my way of letting friends and family know I'm thinking of them. That 5 minute wave from the top of their path does all the difference to my mental health.

So, I'm not going to stop cooking up a storm any time soon. Even when I have to load up the dishwasher for the fourth time that day. It's bringing me so much joy and I have never eaten so well in my life. Long may it continue!

Have you been cooking or baking as a coping mechanism too?

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