Working with our hands to makes things reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, symptoms common to people living with brain injury.
Examples of rewarding and therapeutic activities include, but are not limited to: gardening, crafting, and my favourite, cooking. The entire process of preparing a meal – from the planning and anticipation to the execution, eating and sharing – promotes mindfulness, creativity, and happiness.
I love that cooking can be as simple or as complex as you’d like and that there is always something new to learn. There are many benefits to making your own meals, such as:
- saving money and time
- improving mental and physical health
- avoiding unhealthy ingredients found in processed foods
- challenging yourself to try new things, acquiring new skills and knowledge
- raising confidence and sense of independence
- spending quality time with family and friends when you cook and eat together
Food is a conversational topic that many people are passionate about. You might even consider starting your own blog to journal your culinary experiences, post favourite recipes, and share helpful tips and tricks.
Look for some inspiration!
CookingwithAlison.com is a food blog, written by an ABI survivor, that shares recipes from different cultures that vary in difficulty. You will also find information about different ways to save money on groceries.
Don’t forget this blog’s own recipe column by Chef Janet Craig, Blow Your Mind Recipes, which features easy and nutritious recipes for the ABI Community, featuring delicious recipes such as:
Cream of Roasted Garlic & Onion Soup
Psychologists explain that baking feels really good, especially when you share your baked goods with other people, because it is an outlet for creativity, self-expression and communication.
There is evidence that connects creative expression with overall well-being. Whether that expression is through painting, creating music or baking, it can be very effective at helping you cope with stress, because it requires all of your attention, involves all of your senses, and results in being present and mindful.
Psychologists liken the act of baking to art therapy in that it can be used on a type of therapy called behavioural activation. And simply put, we feel good about ourselves when we share our baked goods with others.
Personally, I love the feeling when I find a new favourite recipe or when I’ve finally perfected a technique. It takes a few batches to get there. Happy cooking and baking!
‘Mind Yourself with Alison’ is a collection of self-help tips, research, and personal experiences dedicated to helping people thrive after brain injury (or other trauma). Check out Alison’s other BIST Blog articles Women and Brain Injury: What you need to know and How to be a Good Friend to a Survivor.