Feeling stressed? Try cooking or baking as a form of self-care

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Emily Dvareckas/The Hawks’ Herald

These cookie brownies were made using a box mix. Box mixes can be a faster alternative to baking from scratch.

Emma Bartlett, Arts and Culture Editor

With only three weeks left of classes, finals are on the horizon, which can cause anxiety amongst students who are putting the finishing touches on essays, projects and portfolios. If you are looking for a fun way to destress, try cooking or baking in your on-campus or off-campus apartment! If you do not have access to a kitchen, there is no need to worry – microwaveable baking options are also safe and tasty.

Making food can be therapeutic as the repetitive motions of measuring and mixing ingredients are calming. Concentrating on cooking or baking also allows you to escape daily stressors and simply enjoy the aroma of food filling the air. Making food also stimulates the senses, whether it be touch, smell or sound, which increases feel-good endorphins in your body and boosts positivity.

If you enjoy healthier snacks or meals, look up recipes for granola bars, smoothies or unique fruit salads. Chicken is a great dinner option and can be topped with a variety of herbs or sauces that spruce up the flavor. Sometimes when assignments pile up, we often forget about eating right. An all-nighter might call for ordering food that is not the healthiest and can often lead to people feeling more lethargic. Spending an hour or two making healthy dishes can ensure that when you know you will be staying up late, you can easily fuel your body with food that will positively impact your long-term energy.

On the other hand, if you want to embrace your sweet tooth, try baking muffins or desserts. If you don’t have a ton of time to devote to baking, buy boxed cake mixes which only call for an hour of your time. If you are feeling extra creative, you can decorate your cake with colored frosting and sprinkles or simply experiment with different icing tips. School work typically prompts us to use the left side of our brains, so it is time to exercise the creative right side. If you want to spend a longer time in the kitchen, make cookies or baklava from scratch and put some tunes on in the background.

For those who do not have access to a kitchen, microwave baking will be your best friend. While this approach might not be as exciting, there is something fun about seeing desserts come to life in under five minutes. Try making a muffin in a mug or brownie in a cup which can both be found at Stop and Shop. All you do is add water to the mixture, stir and heat up in the microwave.

Share the love with your roommates. Since they may also be stressed out by fast approaching deadlines, it never hurts to give them some of what you made. With COVID-19, try limiting your food sharing to only people that you live with. Happy cooking and baking!