The kitchen is often a place full of family traditions and memories. Many meals and conversations take place in the kitchen and when I think back to my childhood I am flooded with fond memories, and smells, of baking in my family kitchen. I spent hours with my mother and grandmother learning how to measure, mix, fold, scoop, decorate, and of course taste. I remember coming home from school to the smell of homemade cookies, cherry filled were my favorite, and dedicating one Saturday every December to making dozens of Christmas cutout cookies. A tradition we continue to still do every year. As I grew older, I would often cut out recipes I wanted to try (yes, this was before Pinterest) and give them a shot for my friends and family to taste.
There never needed to be a “reason” to bake such as it was someone’s birthday, but the more I baked the more I realized there was always a “reason.” It was my hobby. Baking became an act of self-care because it was my personal time to take a break from the demands of life (homework), baking became a coping skill to help distract me when feeling upset (arguing with my best friend), it became an expression of my personality (let’s try something new), it became a form of communication to others (I’ll miss you when you leave for college), and it became a confidence booster (Wow! I created that!).
As I entered into my Senior year of high school I was faced with the decision- what will I study in college? At this time in my life I realized two things about myself, I liked baking and I liked helping people. Which do I choose? If you haven’t guessed it yet based off my website, then I will give you the answer- I chose to study psychology and counseling. Why? This way I get the best of both worlds. Baking continues to be my hobby to this day and it helps allow me to be successful with my career. Research shows that those who have a hobby are generally healthier- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Participating in a hobby lowers the risk of depression, increases problem solving skills, and boosts creativity and confidence. Hobbies prompt new social connections, help you cope with stress, and allow you to structure your time more efficiently. In fact, even Facebook co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, talks about the importance of having a hobby. He discusses how having a hobby outside of work improves your work performance and shows your employer you have “passion and drive.” I could not agree with Mr. Zuckerberg more. Taking the time each week to find and bake a new recipe provides me with enjoyment and I can’t perform my best as a therapist if I didn’t take time to do things I love.
I encourage all readers to make time in their schedule each week for their hobby. Begin a past hobby that you stopped- remember your old tennis racket or knitting needles? Try something new that has always interested you- a book club or guitar lessons? The time is there but it is up to you to use it.
Still do not believe me that hobbies are worth your time?! Check out these helpful articles and books for more information.
Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, Brigid Schulte
Defy Aging, Michael Brickey