I live on the tiny island of Moloka`i, Hawai`i. We’ve been locked down since mid March. While the island grocery stores haven’t had a run on toilet paper, it’s been nearly impossible to find flour and yeast. I found myself wanting to make scones, pizza dough, cookies. Hard to do without flour.
Apparently, all of us on the island have been coping with stress by baking. After four weeks, I was desperate enough that Karen-Venus sent me a care package from New York City (yes, I said New York City) with a small bag of flour she had in her cupboard and some yeast. I’ve made oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies and cherry-pistachio scones so far. Tomorrow, I am going to tackle a loaf of bread in my never-used-since-I-bought-it-five-years-ago bread machine. Wish me luck.
It seems that baking is a form of mindfulness meditation and can decrease anxiety by requiring us to be fully present. Psychologists have studied the phenomenon and found that blood flow is shunted away from the amygdala (our anxiety and emotion center) to our prefrontal cortex. Our fear is lessened and we are calmer.
Baking also may give us a feeling of control in an out-of-control situation. The repetitive physical activity of kneading dough is soothing. When we finish, we have a tangible result – that hopefully nurtures us as well.
It’s normal to be anxious these days. Covid-19 is a true calamity – and it’s not over yet, not by a long shot. Self-care is vital. I alternate between periods of relative equanimity and moments of “The sky is falling, the sky is falling, no, wait, the sky fell, it actually fell!” Baking helps. So does cleaning. And connecting with all of you. Be safe. Be well.
Good golly, cherry pistachio scones sound divine like the perfect anecdote! And I love the research you cite. Anything to shunt blood flow from anxiety to calm! xo
Right? And those scones really are divine! My bread actually came out ok too! I’m so zen right now.
Lynette – Your scones look so very yummy!! I have been sticking to my Weight Watcher’s program and have lost about 12 lbs. since 3/10 when our meetings stopped. I attend zoom meetings weekly. I know if I started baking, I would eat way too much, but I am instead trying new recipes that include lots of fresh veggies. I do think you have convinced me to try some scones!! I can freeze them and take out just a few at a time. Thanks for your wonderful blogs during this troubling time. Stay safe!
Congratulations. And yes, I can see that I need to watch out that I don’t gain the Covid-19 fifteen. Upping my exercise is helping. Hugs.
I would have a panic attack trying to bake. I am not a cook and I think I will stick to kneading clay and making books. I understand the baking therapy but not for me.
This asks me for a web page and I wrote http://www.joyraynor.com but it said I needed an URL ????
The website is not mandatory – and as you saw, you already put in a url. Tech can be odd. Hugs to you.