While sheltering-in-place we’ve been spending a lot more time baking. And wouldn’t you know:
I saw that catchy phrase after delivering my 5th batch of muffins in April. To avoid gaining the dreaded Covid-19 (think Freshman-15) I dropped off Tupperwares to my neighbor who appreciates my zero-sugar recipes.
With my last delivery of cranberry-sweetened pumpkin millet muffins, I wrote “sorry for dumping my stress-baked goodies on your doorstep.” She texted back “TY” with a link to “Stress-baking is a real thing!”
My 3 favorite therapeutic benefits to baking:
- On the surface, baking’s sweet “aroma-therapy” is a lift to the senses.
- It’s a form of mindfulness forcing us to stay in the moment and be present.
- Baking offers proof of progress; it lets us see a project through from beginning to end.
This “proof of progress” is where I want to focus.
I don’t know about you, but I am:
• losing a sense of what day it is
• not as productive as I was before Covid-19
• feeling less accomplished despite feeling almost as busy
So I reflected on the tools I used before Covid-19:
- Planning out my day the night before factoring in daily exercise
- Setting timers before ANY screen tasks and computer-related work
- Setting self-imposed deadlines
- Rewarding myself for meeting those deadlines
- Taking breaks to free my mind and open myself up to creativity
Here’s why I’m returning to these habits:
- Planning always makes me more efficient. When I predict how long something will take—I challenge myself to get it done before the time is up.
- Timers build in accountability for being “on” and give permission to be “off.”
- Set self-imposed (and realistic!) deadlines: they offer us an amazing boost to our sense of self and inner confidence. They also give us a healthy look to the future and make us more aware of time.
- Earned rewards are the essential “pat on the back” that we can gift ourselves. While all rewards should not be caloric, a little baking—no stress involved—can pay off.
- Breaks are essential to productivity, healthy living, and…when else can we bake!