Baking Is My Favorite Hobby to Get Me Through Stressful Days

Simply put, baking makes me happy. Like cooking, I hate cleaning it up, but ending up with a delicious sweet treat is actually enough to make it all worthwhile. I always like to bake – for special occasions, to bring treats to work, when I’m with my mom – but maybe the best time for me is to bake when I’m stressed because it gives me something else to mind to focus on.

Years ago I lived in California and found myself stressed almost 24/7. For several years, I had career problems, relationship problems, financial problems and friends issues at the same time. I saw a therapist for a while, and while she didn’t give me much useful information, she did suggest a hobby to channel my stress into. Until then, I was an informal baker and an avid supporter of baking blogs, but then stress-fired baking went full steam ahead and I started making all kinds of cakes.

Since the coronavirus pandemic gained momentum this month, I’ve baked cookies about eight times.

What I really liked about breaking out of a baking sheet after a stressful day was taking a recipe and making it something new. I’ve focused all of my attention on looking at this recipe and figuring out how to make something out of it. It switched my brain from freakout mode to figure out mode, which was much more bearable. Baking is a real science, so I had a lot of tangled creations, but I also came up with award-winning recipes (or so I think) that relieved my stress, especially on really bad days.

Since then it has been a go-to when things are not going well, and I can easily admit that since the coronavirus pandemic accelerated this month, I have been baking cookies about eight times. Unfortunately, that means by self-isolation I’ve also eaten a few dozen biscuits, but at least it’s something that gives me joy. With everything else going on in the world, I’m not particularly concerned with a few extra calories and some added sugar. The chocolate chips are so worth the effort.

The best stress reliever, however, are the days when I need to punch something, so I make something with a dough to be kneaded. I’ve had an absolute * kiss from the chef * delicious bread came from my worst days. On the other hand, intricate decoration also helps me when I’m stressed, which may seem counterintuitive. But just like figuring out how to switch a recipe to make something new (that can blow up on my face), boring work (which can blow on my face too) seems to calm me down.

I’ve always been a creative person, so I think it’s the creative process and a product to show that really helps me when I’m stressed or on edge about something. Not only does it take my mind off what upsets me, but it opens me up to make something new, fun and tasty, and ultimately makes me happy.

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