Welcome to this week’s Mindful Monday!
I must admit, it has been a tough few weeks. Unfortunately, this explains the absence over the previous two weeks. What with lectures, seminars, reading, deadlines, and revision, I haven’t had very much time for mindfulness. However, another Monday is another week, and another week to start fresh!
Today, the focus is going to be on cooking.
Making meals is something that we all do every day. It is a necessary activity that we all must carry out in order to survive, in order for our family to survive, and to lead healthy and happy lives.’Cooking’ can vary from person to person – for some it involves cooking everything from scratch, and for others, it means adding a jar of sauce to a pasta bake, but whatever you do – it is important to cook proper meals. You might be shrugging your shoulders, thinking “duh?!” , but when you’re overwhelmed, stressed, and feeling exactly the opposite to ‘mindful’, this can seem like a huge, daunting task. For me, I haven’t really cooked a proper meal in a little while. I’m almost forgetting what vegetables taste like amongst the endless amounts of pizza, beans on toast and tomato soup. What with deadlines and heaps of University work to do, I haven’t even felt like I’ve had the time to cook myself proper food. And that is when it dawned on me. This is the perfect opportunity to be mindful, to incorporate it back into my life, and remind myself of how amazing it feels to take that time out.
This week, I am going to cook a meal every night, no excuses, and I urge you to do the same. (If this is something that you’d normally do anyway, challenge yourself instead. Cook something you haven’t cooked before!) Cooking a meal can give you a period of around 20-50 minutes to zone out from work, reading, deadlines, meetings, stress, and everything else that’s holding you down, and focus on the present moment instead. It’s unhealthy to never give yourself a timeout, and eventually, it will take a hold of you. Trust me. I’ve been there. Instead, whilst you’re cooking your evening meal, concentrate on what is happening right now; let go of what happened today or what you need to do ready for tomorrow, as this is the breeding ground for negativity.
Using cooking as a method of mindfulness will have wondrous effects on your overall wellbeing. Not only does it improve concentration, your mood, and your aura, it will also encourage you to wind down, relax, and enjoy your evening meal. Mindfulness encourages mental stability, which ultimately eases stress and exhaustion. You can’t deny that a bit of relaxation after a tough day at work is a total blessing! Not to mention, if you’re a total foodie like me, (that is, someone that absolutely adores food), what better way is there to be mindful?!
Things to focus on:
- What do you see when you simmer sauce in a saucepan? Does it make any patterns?
- What do you hear when you listen to nothing but the sounds of meat frying in the pan, water simmering or cutting up vegetables?
- What do you feel when you slice fresh vegetables into small, equal pieces?
- What do you smell in the air when you put all of the ingredients together into the pan?
- What do you taste when you take your first mouthful of the delicious food that you’ve cooked?
Taking the time every evening to notice every aspect of cooking your meal can help you to focus on the present moment, and leave the stresses of the day behind you, and allowing the worries of the future to be where they should be – ahead of you. Being mindful in this way can have lasting benefits to your overall wellbeing, leaving you more relaxed for the evening, and subsequently more relaxed when you decide to get some rest.
I would love to hear about the different meals you love to cook, and whether or not being mindful whilst cooking this meal has made an impact on the way that you reflect on your day. Please feel free to comment below!