Even in 2020, self-care is still a very important and trendy topic of conversation. This is because our lives are hectic, people are stressed out, and mental health issues are on the rise in the form of anxiety and depression. So self-care is a way to manage stress and enhance our mental health. When you think of self-care rituals, you don’t necessarily think of cooking, but I am a firm believer that cooking is a fundamental form of self-care.
I think we can all agree that self-care is important. Taking the time to care of yourself is not only important, it’s crucial, in this modern world. Practicing self-care is about making yourself a priority so that you can better serve yourself and then ultimately better serve others around you. When you are stressed out from work or have a busy schedule, it’s important to take time for yourself and do things that make you feel good, and put yourself first.
The Self-Care Culture
We all have different approaches to self-care. For you, maybe it is that you like to read a book, while for someone else it may be to spend time with friends or enjoying a hobby. However, nowadays, I often find that self-care is presented as taking time out for a special treat; booking yourself in for a spa day, getting a pedicure or even buying yourself something new and fancy. It’s become a culture where we justify indulgence as a form of self-care; buying something, eating that thing, or going to that place.
However, self-care can be much simpler than that!
For me, self-care is about prioritising your needs so that you can care for yourself on all levels - physically, mentally and emotionally. Self-care is not something that you do once in a while because you are overly stressed or burned out, true self-care are things that you do on a daily basis.
In fact, the dictionary definition of self-care is ‘the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health’, which is exactly why I believe cooking is self-care.
The actual goal of self-care is to maximise our own health and do it in a way that helps make things seem easier or less stressful. That can include anything from exercise to good sleep, but to me, cooking is one that is underrated.
Why cooking is a form of self-care
In my opinion, cooking is an important factor that can impact your physical and mental being. It nourishes you on so many levels. You don’t need to be a professional cook in order to practice self-care, I think the most basic and easy cooking skills are forms of self-care.
It is the way you show your body that you care. It is the way you give your body the energy to do the tasks you ask of it. It is the way that you take control of your health. Cooking is a fundamental self-care need.
When you take time to prepare yourself something nourishing, you are telling yourself that you are important. You are not saying, ‘I am too busy.’ Instead, you are saying, ‘I am prioritising my health and myself’.
Instead of looking at cooking as a chore that you’re forced to do, look at it as a creative outlet. Creative activities can be incredibly rewarding. Spending time and effort on something that you can later say ‘I made that’ can ignite a spark of pride and accomplishment.
Cooking can put you in a state of ‘flow’ stimulating mindfulness which is focusing on the present moment and calmly accepting and acknowledging the thoughts, feelings, and sensations of that moment. The benefits of mindfulness have been shown to offer both psychological and physical benefits, including stress reduction, improved focus, enhanced cognitive flexibility and boosts the immune system.
Self-care is not limited to pampering indulgence, sometimes the real act of self-care is the last thing you feel like doing. We need to acknowledge that our health is our responsibility and we owe it to ourselves and those in our care to tend to it. In order to make cooking part of your daily self-care routine, you need to make it something you enjoy! This can be done by cooking the food you like to eat or listening to a podcast while you prepare lunches for the week. It might take time, but that’s why it’s called a practice, and every time you practice cooking you are practicing one of the most fundamental forms of self-care.