6. Get creative in the kitchen with new recipes
Cooking is not only great for your mental health (seriously, because it is an act of patience, mindfulness, and an outlet for creative expression, cooking has been deemed as incredibly therapeutic) it’s also great for your stomach and physical health. So whether it’s a wild and wonderful new creation, or simply a different take on a cottage pie, getting creative in the kitchen will definitely help you to feel good.
Which leads us nicely onto number six…
7. Bake bread
Ok, so we know everyone is doing this already, but there really is something satisfying and relaxing about getting your hands stuck into some dough.
Check out this super easy recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall below. We promise this isn’t a pain (well, unless you’re in France…). The mixing of ingredients takes 5 minutes, you knead for 5-10mins, leave the dough to rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place, then hey presto! You have bread dough. Plus, you can also make pizza out of the dough – the eating of which is also a small feel good thing in our eyes.
Here’s what you knead…
- 250g white flour
- 250g strong white bread flour (you can mix the flour to whatever portion you like, for example you can add in a bit of wholemeal, around 100g, but not too much as it can get quite dense)
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried instant yeast (you can buy sachets from the supermarket)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 325ml water
In a bowl, mix the flours, yeast, salt and water to form a sticky dough. Mix in the oil, then turn out on to a clean work surface and knead for 5-10mins until smooth and silky. (Alternatively, if you have a mixer with a dough hook, mix the flours, yeast, salt and water on a low speed, add the oil and knead for 10 minutes). Don’t worry if the dough is a bit sticky, you can add some flour while kneading, but it wants to be a bit sticky. Shape into a round, and leave to rise in a clean bowl, covered with a plastic bag or tea towel, until doubled in size (around 1-2 hours).
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes at around 170 fan (or until brown and there is a hallow sounds when you tap the bottom of the bread).
This makes one big loaf, or you can divide it by two to make a couple of smaller ones depending on your tin size.
8. Shop consciously
Shop at a local farmers market to cut down on plastics and packaging waste, as well as supporting local businesses. Alternatively, pop a few things in the food bank box in your local supermarket when you go shopping.
9. Take a walk at sunset every day
As the lights go on indoors it can feel like it is dark outside. Taking a walk at this time reminds us that it is actually still light outside which can boost the mood and bring feelings of positivity. Each day, the walk will be a couple of minutes later as the days grow longer and the spring approaches.