Picking up new activities is great for recovery. Learning new skills helps focus your attention, increase your sense of self-efficacy, and meet new people who share your interests. People get into lots of new activities during recovery, including exercise, music, art, volunteering, and others. One skill you may consider practicing is cooking. The following reasons make cooking a great skill for recovery and for life.
Cooking Your Own Food Is Healthier
Obviously, a healthy diet is good for your physical health but the evidence is mounting that it is good for your mental health as well. One meta-analysis of 16 studies comprising nearly 46,000 participants found that people who ate healthier had a lower risk of depression. While no specific diet appeared to be clearly better than others, the study found that people who ate more whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables and avoided processed foods had fewer symptoms of depression.
The best and most cost-effective way to increase healthy, whole-food consumption is to cook for yourself. Processed and packaged foods have lots of extra preservatives, salt, and sugar. Even restaurants that serve apparently healthy food add quite a bit of salt and sugar, not to mention the added expense of eating out. Making a similar meal at home is usually cheaper and healthier.
Cooking is Good Mental Exercise
Cooking is an excellent activity for building brainpower. Creating a meal requires planning, multitasking, and timing. Not only do you have to think through the process to make sure you have everything ready and organized to successfully complete the meal, but you have to use all your senses to ensure things are going as planned. You may even need to think critically and on your feet to solve unexpected problems if they arise. There are plenty of dishes that are easy to cook and you can gradually try more difficult dishes as you gain confidence in the process. Perhaps most importantly, there is an incentive. Finishing a meal means you get to sit down and enjoy it. Often, a sense of pride and accomplishment is experienced as a result. If that’s not a healthy dose of motivation, we don’t know what is.
Cooking Brings People Together
One of the best things about cooking is that it brings people together. People naturally connect over meals. Just having a basic competence in the kitchen will make you more popular. Being able to cook for friends and family means you can have people over, which is typically more intimate than going to a restaurant. It can even become a hands-on group activity where everyone contributes and gets to be a part of the process.
Looking for Help?
Getting sober requires a commitment to making healthy lifestyle changes. Cooking more of your own meals is one of those habits that will positively affect everything else you do. Giving your mind and body proper nourishment improves your mood and physical health. Additionally, cooking saves you money and connects you to others. At Tree House Recovery of Orange County, we help men create healthy lifestyle changes to support them in living a life free from the influence of drugs and alcohol. To learn more about our unique treatment program, call us today at 855-202-2138.