For many, the holidays are a time of “more.” There’s often more food, more drinking, more family time, more plans, and, potentially, more pressure. In fact, according to a study, 88% of people find the holidays are the most stressful time of the year. While we are undoubtedly lovers of the holiday season and the festivities that surround it, we also crave slower, more mindful activities to balance out the busy albeit joyful season. Enter: cooking!
What is it about cooking that’s so therapeutic?
The Wall Street Journal reports that counselors said cooking soothes stress, builds self-esteem, and curbs negative thinking, thanks to the act of focusing on recipes. Other research shows that creating in the kitchen helps us tap into our creative sides, which makes us happier. Similarly, cooking for ourselves and others is said to boost our feelings of interconnectedness and fulfillment.
If you’re like us, you don’t even need studies or experts to prove the value of cooking. We feel the stress-relieving benefits every time we chop veggies; we experience fulfillment when we make a meal from start to finish for ourselves and our loved ones, and we reap the rewards as our bodies fuel with nourishment. There’s no question that cooking is just as much of a soul-filling experience as a belly-filling one!
6 ways to celebrate the joy of cooking during the holidays
If you find the holidays are more stressful than you’d like, consider these tips to celebrate cooking as a joyful and stress-relieving practice.
1. Improve your skills
Trust us, when you know how to handle a chef’s knife and easy tips for how to cut using a chef’s knife, it’ll make cooking MUCH more fun and less stressful. Nothing breaks up a flow faster than an injured finger!
2. Make a family tradition around cooking
3. Repurpose your leftovers
If you have leftovers from a family feast, turn them into a pie, make a fun kebob, or transform them into a yummy bowl. Not only will you save waste and money, but you’ll also get to tap into your creative side of making something new out of something “old.”
4. Create your own recipe
At Swich, we have chef-curated recipes for you to practice and sharpen your cooking skills. But don’t be afraid to make your own recipe or put your own twist on some existing recipes. Give it a name while you’re at it like “Rudolph’s Lasagna” or “Zach’s Christmas Eve Burritos.” Fun and festive!
5. Share food (and love) with others
Make this batch of Shortbread Cookies for your neighbors. Call your local homeless shelter and see if they accept prepared meals. The holiday season is a wonderful time to show love and care through food.
6. Eat seasonally
Last but not least, using seasonal produce will take your cooking game to new levels! The food will taste better and cause a smaller impact on the planet. And if you purchase from a farmers’ market, you’ll be supporting your community. (Read more about seasonal produce.)
Are you planning to enjoy a plant-based holiday? Here are tips for communicating your diet to your loved ones! And don't miss our ultimate plant-based holiday menu!
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