If you’re having a bad day and find yourself in the kitchen, do you find kneading some dough or rolling out sugar paste somehow helps you calm down? You’re not alone – a recent Dr. Oetker ‘Bake Friends’ study found that 1 in 3 people in the UK use baking as a stress relieving activity.
So why do we find baking therapy so enjoyable? From the physical requirements to mental concentration, you’ll be amazed how much of a stress relieving activity baking can truly be.
- Creative Expression
We all know as bakers and cake decorators how creative the craft allows you to be, so it’s hardly a surprise that 1 in 6 people studied say they enjoy baking as a creative outlet. 67% of bakers surveyed also agreed that getting active in the kitchen normally helps improve their mood.
Dr Linda Papadopoulos, a psychologist involved in the ‘Bake Friends’ study, explained that the simple experience of creating encourages imagination and creative expression, which is strongly linked to overall wellbeing. By allowing your mind to wander and create something artistic, without restrictions and expectations, your creativity can only grow stronger.
Baking can be mindful in how it helps you focus. Mindfulness is a concept and way of life that has been gaining more and more interest in recent years, as people understand better how beneficial it can be for mental health. Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment:
“It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behavior.”
How does this apply to baking? Simply following a recipe can help you feel present and focused, taking your mind away from other worries and stresses. Instead of worrying about next week’s commission or yesterday’s email spat, following a recipe directs your mind to focus only on what’s happening in that moment.
- Positive focus
We’re not going to pretend that baking is always stress-free. Especially when starting and running a cake business, being in the kitchen isn’t always a dream.
However, we’re looking at baking therapy, not baking professionally. Take some time to create for yourself, free yourself from client needs and expectations and focus your energies on creating something positive for yourself.
As a species, most humans can’t help but put others before themselves. That’s one of the many reasons why we find ourselves looking for stress relieving activities where possible. So whip out an old favourite family recipe, mix some fun and funky colours together in your icing and turn the kitchen from a place of stress to a place of joy.
- Bonding experience
Baking therapy doesn’t have to be a solitary experience either. While some of us prefer to be alone, baking and cake decorating for the pure joy of creating is a great opportunity to get family involved, especially children.
The ‘Bake Friends‘ study found that 1 in 8 bakers think making cakes is a great excuse to bond with the kids in a fun (and messy!) baking session. Baking can create an important bonding experience with family and friends alike,
Do you find baking and cake decorating to be stress relieving activities? If you haven’t tried it, we definitely recommend trying a bit of baking therapy and see how it can change your life for the better.