Blue Monday - Baking to beat the bluesPublished 19/01/2017
As we all know, today has officially been named ‘Blue Monday’ – aka ‘the most miserable day of the year’. The idea was created as a PR stunt a few years back, but resonated with so many people that it’s now been incorporated into our calendar, acknowledging the ‘perfect storm’ that’s created post-Christmas, when debt levels combine with low motivation, bad weather and negative feelings about ourselves!
However – there is good news on the horizon – Blue Monday, (or any other day you’re feeling a tad depressed or down), can now be tackled by baking! It’s official – studies have found that baking offers a whole host of benefits that will distract, alter mindset and increase feelings of wellbeing.
One study, in the Journal of Occupational Therapy, noted that baking was particularly helpful for those with mental disorders – ranging right across the spectrum from schizophrenia through to depression. Furthermore, former Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite also admitted that the process of channelling his negative energy into creating something positive, helped him deal with his low moods too. Author Marion Keyes is another fan, for exactly the same reasons.
So How Does Baking Help Then?
1) It Takes You Somewhere Else
Systematically beating eggs, or rolling pastry is a distraction technique. The participants in the studies reported increased concentration, and a detachment from their immediate problems.
2) It Provides Tangible (and tasty) Goals
Everyone loves the feeling of achievement when something is done well. From beginner bakers, through to more experienced ones, all cooks reported feeling happier and proud of what they’d produced -even more so when others enjoyed the products too.
3) It Allows You to Take Control of Your Diet
There’s nothing better than eating home-cooked food. For a start, you’re in charge of the ingredients – you know what it contains and how it will affect you. Home baking means you’ll enjoy your food more, and positive feelings will follow.
4) It Puts You Back In Touch With Your Senses
Do you have an early childhood full of sensuous smells of baking bread, or hot pies? Can you remember begging to lick the cake bowl when you were a child? If the answer’s yes, baking could be just the thing to transport you back to some wonderful memories, with the knock-on effect of the positive feelings this will create.
5) It’s Something to Share
You’ve made a cake. Now ask around your family. Or the neighbours you meant to get to know. Hold a tea party for charity, or take part on a cake stall at your nearest fete. It could open up a whole new social life for you!