Cooking My Stress Away

December 2018

For many people, cooking is a duty, a past time, even a hobby but for me…cooking is therapy. I am sure you are aware of the phrase, “to each, their own”.

I first discovered that cooking had the power to lower my stress level when I was a newlywed. My husband and I decided to do the filial thing of staying with his parents to look after them. They were already in their twilight years and we thought that it was the best thing to do. Moreover, my husband’s job often required him to stay away from home for days.

Since I was also working, it meant that I would only be spending several hours a day with my in-laws. To my horror, I discovered that my mother-in-law was a bully. I was terrified of going home for she never let me have a moment of peace. She was extremely demanding and obsessive about doing things her way. My single solace was to be in the kitchen – slicing, dicing, chopping and pounding – and later to produce delicious meals that took everyone’s breath away. This literally helped me to block off the mental stress and kept me singing and smiling.

Years later, I became close friends with a very senior civil servant and a lecturer at the university. They shared with me how they dealt with stress. One loved to make bread while the other pasta. The act of beating down the risen dough kept their sanity.

Even some of my male friends have confessed that cooking actually rests their minds. It makes them feel fulfilled when they come up with something nice for family and friends.

I believe that cooking brings us into another world. The lifting, chopping, pounding and washing is like a physical workout and the hot kitchen environment is like a sauna that causes you to sweat it out. The infusion of spices added gives you aroma therapy that is actually calming.

So, if there is anyone who is undergoing stressful situations, do head off for the kitchen and try out this relief. Even if you cannot come out with the best dishes, you would have had a great cry peeling onions. Try it!