Let’s admit it, shops have been selling Easter eggs and hot cross buns since February, but the actual Easter time is finally just around the corner! In the festive spirit, every year I make a batch or two (…or three) of hot cross buns for the crew. It takes a moment of “yeah ok, why not” the night before, and then a full afternoon in the kitchen. All that prep and baking might sound tedious, but in fact it is amazingly therapeutic!
To me, the process of cooking is almost meditative – you have an excuse to chill and reflect as you sift flour, mix or knead – all while still looking productive. You get an edible end-product too. Bonus!
In a way, spending three hours in the kitchen over the weekend gave me time to think of this blog: 3 hot spots in your life that you can improve for a mindful Easter. Here we go:
- In the kitchen
Like music, art or dance, cooking (including baking) allows you to flex your creativity as well as relieve and manage life’s stress (read more here). When the food is made and then shared with others, the art of cooking holds many unspoken social meanings such as signifying friendship, support and even thanks. There’s even scientific evidence now for the psychological benefits of making food for others (check out the article here). Cooking is also a great way of practicing mindfulness as you follow the recipe and work on each specific step while keeping the bigger picture (i.e. final product) in mind.
Of course, for those who do not usually set foot in the kitchen arena, this may be DI-stressing rather than DE-stressing, so start simple and work your way upwards based on how comfortable and confident you feel.
- With friends and family
We can often forget that Easter is about more than just the chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. Given the public holiday and long weekend Easter is actually a great chance to spend some quality time with friends and family – both indoors and outdoors! Enjoy Easter in non-food ways with a bike ride out or outing to the park with the crew. On rainy days, get everyone moving by organising an indoor ‘Just Dance’ match or something as simple as involving everyone in the cooking (see tip 1 again!). If you have a backlog of household chores to attend to, indoor days are a perfect excuse to get everyone up and about – and have non-food rewards afterwards, such as a movie night.
- At the dining table
When you scoff down the Easter feast, the entire chocolate block or one too many Easter buns, are you truly enjoying the pleasure of eating that food? Or, you feel a need to shovel in as much as you can because you feel like this is your one and only chance to have it? As part of my ‘mishn’, I encourage people to nurture a healthy relationship with their food and eating – a part of that is reminding us all of the reality that eating a certain food does NOT depend on whether you ‘deserve’ it or not, and there is no such thing as ‘cheat days’ (this isn’t an exam!) or ‘rewards’ (this introduces the idea of a ‘punishment’). There are no clear-cut ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ foods and having the occasional chocolates, sweet buns or that mouth-watering pork belly is perfectly fine as part of a balanced and nutritious diet.
Knowing that you CAN have these foods will counter-intuitively make you crave it less – since part of the desire is the idea of the food being ‘forbidden’. Next time you want a ‘treat’, have a small portion and really enjoy every mouthful of it. Analyse the textures and flavours – you might even be able to start telling apart different brands! Portion-control, enjoyment and know that there is always a ‘next time’ to look forward to 🙂