The Benefits of Baking/Cooking on Your Mental Health


A Spoonful of Vanilla

A guest post by Sarah, A Spoonful of Vanilla

I think we can say with some confidence that our mental health has taken a little bit of a battering in the last year or so, but there is one thing that has been my saviour and that is baking.

There are so benefits of being able to spend a few hours, in the kitchen, away from the rolling news channels and social media, creating something delicious. During the pandemic so many of us have taken up baking as a way to help deal with stress and anxiety.

Baking helps us be creative

Whether you are decorating a cake or experimenting with a new flavour of Brownie baking allows us to be creative. There is nothing I love more than looking at a cake with a fresh crumb coat and deciding how I want to decorate it.

Baking unlocks our senses

Whether it is smelling our cakes bake or the feeling of kneading dough, baking appeals to all five of our senses, which in turn increases our feel-good endorphins.

A Spoonful of Vanilla

It is a way for us to stay in control

We can’t control the things in the outside world, but we can control what we put in our recipes. From the amount of flour, sugar and butter to the Vanilla Extract or food colouring. We are in control of the oven temperature and baking time too. Baking takes up so much our attention and helps keep us focused.

It is therapeutic

To quote the Queen of Baking Mary Berry once said, “If you are feeling a bit down, a bit of kneading helps.” Baking can be very repetitive, which can help your mental wellbeing. Following each step of the recipe in a methodical way means that you don’t have time to worry about everything going on in the outside world.  

A Spoonful of Vanilla

Baking can boost your confidence

There is nothing better than when your bakes turn out perfect and utterly delicious, this boosts our confidence and gives us a sense of achievement. Taking pride and pleasure in your creation can boost your self-esteem and self-worth. Plus, once you master one element of baking and move on to another, challenging yourself and succeeding is another way to boost your confidence and self-esteem.

As well as all the points I have mentioned above there are also so many other ways that baking can help improve your mental health.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly would be in a much different place if I hadn’t baked my way through the pandemic. Baking has helped not just me but my colleagues too.  Working for the NHS, taking my bakes into work has definitely boosted the morale of my colleagues in times where we were all feeling a little overwhelmed.

We even had baking Zoom nights where we would all be in our kitchen baking some scones or cupcakes having a good old natter at the same time, plus let’s not forget the delicious treats that you have to enjoy at the end of the process.

Have you taken up baking or cooking during the pandemic? Did you find that it has helped your mental health?

About the Author

Sarah is a recipe creator and salted caramel enthusiast from Edinburgh. She has always been passionate about baking, a love that started in childhood but only really took hold when she started University. She found baking the best way to help her destress especially during exam season (the procrasti-baking is real).

Sarah started her baking blog A Spoonful of Vanilla as a way to help inspire others to bake. Each recipe is easy to follow, so whether it is your first bake or your 10,000th bake there will be something for you to try. You will also find, lots of guides to help you create the perfect recipe every time.

Throughout lockdown Sarah has shared her mouth-watering bakes on social media and has garnered a loyal following. You can check out her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter here.

Sarah has lots of exciting plans for the future which include a lot more baking and hopes that one day she will be able to write her own cookbook.

Tracey is the Contributing Editor for Foodies100, Tots100, Hibs100 and Trips100. She also blogs at PackThePJs. Tracey writes mainly about family travel; from days out to road trips with her pet dogs, to cruises and long-haul tropical destinations. Her family consists of her husband Huw, a medical writer, Millie-Mae (14), Toby (12) and Izzy and Jack the spaniels.

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