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How cooking can help you relax and unwind

From fishing trips to visits to the spa, there are many relaxing activities out there for you to enjoy. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your stress to melt away.

One underrated way to help alleviate stress is cooking. And, you don’t have to be an expert to reap the endless benefits of taking some time out to prepare meals for yourself and your loved ones.

Here are seven ways that cooking can help you manage stress and feel better overall.

Work up a sweat

Cooking can be a very physical activity. When cooking, you can be on your feet for hours at a time moving around your kitchen. And physical activity has long been proven to help with stress management.

Read: Common mistakes you make when cooking sausages

Fill your kitchen with love

As much as you may love your own company, nothing beats being surrounded by the people you love. And cooking a healthy and hearty meal for your friends and family is a fantastic way to show your love and appreciation. Making the people you love happy does wonders for your emotional wellbeing.

Enjoy the ritual of cooking

An everyday cooking routine can induce a sense of peace and comfort that many people find appealing. Common tasks such as chopping, stirring, and sautéing can be calming and also provide a sense of achievement when the meal is done.

Following a daily routine has many health benefits, and stress relief is at the top of the list.

Take control of your nutrition

Taking control of your health is one of the most important parts of managing stress. When you are stressed, you’re more likely to reach for convenient foods that may not be so good for you.

By cooking meals yourself, you can take charge of the ingredients you use and can make sure everything is as healthy and nutritious as possible. Being nourished and properly hydrated will also help your body deal with the effects of stress.

Read: Barbecue tips to take your cooking to the next level

Unlock the wellness benefits of aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative treatment that focuses on harnessing the therapeutic benefits of certain aromatic smells. You don’t need to actually buy and use essential oils to reap the benefits of aromatherapy though, calming scents can be created through cooking.

By playing and experimenting with different ingredients, you’ll be able to create various fragrances that have relaxing effects.

Invigorate your mind

If you haven’t cooked in a while, don’t worry. It’s easy to start and there are plenty of recipes all over the internet you can use. Successfully creating a meal, plus the cognitive effort you exerted while doing so, can help stimulate the pathways of your brain that enjoy rewards, releasing copious amounts of dopamine and helping lift your spirits.

Let your creative juices flow

Cooking is a perfect outlet to express your creative talents, whether cooking is a new hobby or you’ve been doing it for years. Experiment with new ingredients, tweak favourite recipes, or try to recreate meals you’ve ordered at a restaurant. You create fun, lasting memories and might even unintentionally stumble on your next favourite meal. As with art, the only rule is that there are no rules – just enjoy the experience!

Read: Cooking tips to get the perfect pasta every time

Cooking is a delightful and healthy way to help you manage stress. If you are new to it, you can start with simple recipes you enjoy and work your way up to more complicated recipes as you get more comfortable in the kitchen.

Do you enjoy cooking? What’s your favourite thing to make? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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