Self-care is a huge priority for me as I am navigating the grief process. Taking time for activities that allow me to relax is huge, because I haven’t been able to relax for a while. And while baths, face masks, and other relaxing activities are definitely a large part of self-care, I have also noticed that cooking is a form of self-care as well.
It feels weird to say, because I used to have a motto that if something took longer than 5-10 minutes for me to make, it wasn’t worth it. I would cook plain pasta, maybe add some salt and pepper, and call it a meal.
That has all changed over the last few years, this last year in particular. Now, I identify spending time to cook dinner or meal prep lunch for the week as time that I invest in myself to ensure that I am eating well — and often. (Some days, it’s amazing when I remember to eat three meals a day and not just live off coffee.)
Here are some of my thoughts on cooking and meal prepping as self-care.
Sometimes when I shift from “work” to “home” the last thing I want to do is cook anything, especially if I have to go grocery shopping. (I haven’t accepted grocery shopping as a form of self-care yet, but I think I might someday.)
I’ll talk about it more later, but meal prepping ahead of time helps with that, and so does keeping a few staples on hand.
I always make sure I always have:
- Butter and/or oil
- Tortilla chips
- Salad dressings/hot sauce
Much like my mom, I rarely follow a recipe anymore. My method of cooking generally includes thinking about what type or flavor of food that I’m looking for, and making up a recipe based on whatever I have in the kitchen.
Some of my favorite meals to make are:
- Stir fry
- Loaded nachos
- Homemade crunchwrap
- Homemade soup from veggie scraps
You can do so much with what you have to create a unique meal from simple and common items.
However, there are certainly times that I am feeling especially ambitious or a need to spend more time in the kitchen, and when that happens, I will actually look for recipes to follow.
My favorite food blog to get ideas and recipes from is called CleanFoodCrush.
Some of my recent favorites included:
When I stopped looking at cooking as an annoying chore and started looking at it as self-care, meal prepping became a huge priority for me.
On days that I actually have time, like weekends, I spend a few hours preparing the meals for later in the week, so I am not scrambling each night. I can put on some music and dance while I’m cooking, or I can listen to my favorite podcast Wine & Crime, or listen to whatever is playing on TV, and make food for the week.
I am glad that as I got older I realized that my “5-10 minutes or less rule” wasn’t very effective.
Once I started making meal prep a part of my routine and accepted cooking as a form of self-care, it became very relaxing and enjoyable.
Now I look forward to the time that I spend in the kitchen, and can’t wait to try something else new soon.