If you’ve spent some time in a kitchen, you remember the early days when you were first learning to cook. Questioning, testing, probably some burning. And you also know that as you continued to spend time in the kitchen, that uncertainty began to fade away and you started to find your place in your cooking. Food is physical fuel, but it also has strong connections to our emotions as well. For some, the act of cooking can even feel therapeutic.
A Kitchen Connection
Mindfulness. Cooking invites us to slow down and pay attention. If your mind wanders while you’re chopping carrots, you risk a cut. If you get distracted while a pan is on the stove, things get burned. In a world where multitasking is celebrated, cooking is a tool to focus and be mindful. Checking for the perfect golden brown on your cookies. Paying attention to the different scents from each spice and herb. Even feeling the warm water as you clean the dishes afterward. Each of these acts is a practice in mindfulness. Slowing down and experiencing everything that is happening in the moment.
Sense of accomplishment. When you’ve practiced and practiced a dish until you’ve mastered it, there is a real sense of pride that comes with that accomplishment. That resiliency of finding the right temperature to bake or tweaking the ingredients until they are just right is a part of spending time in the kitchen. It may take time and practice, but when you pull out that perfect roasted chicken, you can’t help but feel proud of yourself.
Serving others. Cooking can also be therapeutic because so often we are serving others through our food. It can be something as big as volunteering at a local food program for kids or something as simple as preparing a meal for your family. That service to others gives us a positive mental health boost.
Connection. There may be times in your life when you feel lonely or disconnected from the people around you. Maybe it’s your first time living away from home, or a big move for a new job. Cooking is a way to feel connected to loved ones, even when you’re far away. Pulling out your grandma’s old recipe cards and seeing her handwriting can help you feel closer. Filling your kitchen with the smells of your dad’s famous meatloaf makes your home feel homier and like your family is a little bit closer. Being tied to those traditions in the kitchen can help you feel like a strong branch in your family tree.
Journey Home East for Young Adults
Journey Home East provides key supportive interventions in a home-like setting. We include various types of interventions including group, individual, and family support. As a transitional independent living program, we also help our residents work on independent living skills, develop positive peer and community relationships, help them with academic success, and provide exciting recreational activities.
Journey Home East helps provide the opportunity for greater freedoms and responsibilities entailed in pursuing further education or having a job. Residents are being supported in this process by our skilled staff. For more information please call (828) 408-0767.