Trying out Baking for Self-Care

Quite often, when I’m having a down day, I find myself drawn to the idea of baking.

Do I ever usually bake? Nope. Have I ever leaned in to this feeling and tried baking myself out of a slump? (Well, the way I’ve worded that sounds painful…) Nope!

The truth is, I’m not a very natural baker, I can’t usually decide on a recipe and when I’m having a bad day I’m far too lazy to shop for ingredients!

But today, I decided to go with my gut and see if it worked. Surely, if my brain kept turning to baking when I was in a slump, it must mean something? It might make me feel much better. And if not, at least I might get some cake out of it!

So I turned to the ever-trusty BBC Good Food and chose this recipe for banana and blueberry muffins. (I’m in no way sponsored or supported by BBC Good Food, I just love their recipes) I won’t talk through the whole recipe in this post, so if you want to have a go yourself then please head over to their website.

Banana and blueberry muffins

First mountain to climb – going out to buy the ingredients.
I really wasn’t feeling like facing the outside world this afternoon, so I asked my fiance to come with me. We quickly had everything we needed (plus a few things we didn’t need!) and I could get home to start baking. Getting out in the fresh air did actually help to pick my mood up, and I found that I starting to feel excited to get back to the kitchen and start creating – maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all?

ingredients in trolley
Ingredients found – and mini eggs to eat whilst baking, of course!

Once I got home, I laid out all my ingredients. In all honesty, I think that going through the process of laying out the ingredients and taking pictures for this post really helped me to see the process through and make sure that I was being methodical about it. (By the way, please don’t expect very professional-looking photos! No idea how you baking bloggers do this!)

banana and blueberry muffins ingredients

The ingredients you need for this recipe are pretty simple and easy to get hold of. Just what I needed for an easy Sunday self-care bake.

The Baking.

This was such an easy recipe. If I can do it, anyone can!

All you had to was mix together the dry ingredients and leave them to one side whilst you mashed the banana and mixed that together with oil, buttermilk and egg whites. The hardest bit was separating the egg whites – look what a mess I made of it!

stages of baking muffins
Nothing looks good before it’s cooked!

What I really liked about this recipe was that it included hints and things to look out for. For example, it warned me that the muffin cases would end up very full with this amount of mixture. This was helpful, because otherwise I would have under-filled them and been left with leftover mixture.

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Ready for the oven 🙂

In the end, I don’t think I did such a bad job. These were tasty, not too sweet, and just the right size for a Sunday-blogging snack.

Conclusions

So… was it therapeutic getting the kitchen messy and making muffins? Actually, yes it was. I can see why so many people turn to baking and cooking to calm themselves down or cheer themselves up. I felt productive, creative and purposeful. I did cheer up and I enjoyed the process. Of course, having delicious baked goods at the end of it is always a bonus too!

I think that I’d always avoided baking or cooking when I felt depressed because I was scared of it going wrong – I’m not a natural cook – and then feeling worse. However, if I give myself a little bit of forgiveness to make mistakes, go with an easy recipe, and just let myself enjoy the process – this could be a good new hobby for me!

I was surprised just how much this picked up my mood on an otherwise gloomy Sunday.
Do you like baking? I’d love to know what you like making and any tips you have for a novice like me.

Banana and blueberry muffins

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What Self-Care Looks Like To Me

Well, it’s been a while!

I haven’t written a post in quite a few months, which I’m sure not many people have noticed, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things and start blogging more frequently again.

So, this #SelfCareSunday, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what self-care looks like to me…

Preventative Self-Care

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Photo by Leon Martinez on Pexels.com

I’ve been trying to put more of my time this year into preventative self-careThat is, taking care of myself to keep my body and mind healthy, to avoid any down-turns in my mental health, rather than waiting until I feel the need to use self-care to recover.

One of the main ways I’ve been doing this (hint the picture above…) is heading to the gym. I have a real love-hate relationship with exercise on the whole, but I do know that if I drag myself out the house and go for a jog, or sweat my way through a gym class, I do feel better. This works if I’m in a bad mood, but I have also noticed that on the weeks that I put the effort in to work out more often, I feel better on the whole.

I also like to make sure that I am always getting enough sleep. I am someone who needs plenty of sleep to function properly! I know this fact about myself, so why starve myself of sleep? For me to feel calm and prepared for the day ahead, I need to have had a good night’s sleep.

Self-Care First Aid

white bed comforter
Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

Sometimes (frequently) you have a bad (awful) day, filled with stress and panic, and you need some serious self-care time that evening to recover.

On those days (and there are plenty of them, believe me!) I like to take time to myself to calm down, relax and repair. This will look different all the time, but it usually involves some of the following:

  • Climbing into bed early.
  • Curling up with a good book. (Have you read my post on The Best Book Genres for a Cosy Night In?)
  • Watching Netflix. (I might write a Netflix recommendations post soon, if you’d be interested in reading that then please let me know in the comments!)
  • Cuddling my cat.
  • Cooking up some delicious comfort food.
  • Taking a bath with lots of Dead Sea salts.
  • Stretching/attempting some funny-looking yoga.

 

I have found that doing some more pro-active and preventative self-care has lessened the frequency of those ‘first aid’ days, but sometimes you just have to spend a few hours recovering.

What does self-care look like to you?

 

If you want to read more about my self-care habits, I have written posts before on winter self-care ideas and low energy self-care activities.

 

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#SelfCareTogether – A Self-Care Challenge for October

It should come as no surprise that someone with blog title ‘Self-Care Sloth’ thinks that self-care is important.

Of course I think self-care is important! Taking care of ourselves is one of the most crucial things that we can do to keep ourselves healthy and happy. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then who will?

Thankfully, there are hundreds of other bloggers and wonderful people out there who also take self-care seriously and one of those is the lovely Anneli at Pigletish.com, who has created the #SelfCareTogether October Self-Care Challenge.

There are loads of different ways to practice self-care, be they indulgent and only for the odd occasion, or low-energy and everyday activities. What Anneli has done is collect 31 of these activities together and created a plan for October that encompasses four different aspects of self-care. Isn’t that such a great idea?

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I am definitely going to be taking part in this challenge and I will share most of my thoughts over on my Twitter @ASelfCareSloth, but today I thought I’d start off with some thoughts here on my blog.

My Self-Care Plan for Week One: Self-Care Basics.

01: Go outside.

On day one, I will make an effort to get outside, for more than just the walk to my car in the morning! This was one of the only benefits of my old office job, actually. Every lunch time, I used to go out for a walk and get some fresh air. Now that I’m at a school, it is expected that I’ll be on-site for most of lunchtime, so I don’t get this same opportunity. I am glad that this challenge will give me a push to get outside on Monday after work, even just for a walk round the block. My aim is 20 minutes of fresh air.

autumnal leaves

02: Eat Something Nutritious.

A big one for me at the moment. My relationship with food isn’t great and I often make the wrong choices, even though I know that healthy and nutritious food makes me feel much better. On Tuesday, I am going to make a nutritious and healthy dinner, including lots of colourful veg!

03: Venture Further Out

I’ll admit, I’m not totally sure I know what this one means. But I’m going to take it to mean venturing out of my comfort zone – because that is always a good thing to do, and I don’t necessarily need to venture further out of the house. There’s always a way to push my comfort zone a bit further when I’m teaching, and my comfort zone is pretty small, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to venture a bit further on day three.

04: Shower/Bath

This is such a key self-care topic, I’m really glad that it’s been included in this list. Sometimes, just having a shower or a long soak is what both your body and mind need. I’ll have been to the gym on the fourth, so a long hot shower will be needed! But I’ll level it up a bit this week by using a hair mask, properly cleansing my face, and really putting the effort into this regime.

relaxing shower head with water

05: Life Admin

How often do we all get behind on this?! If you’re anything like me, this is an ongoing to-do list that always gets forgotten – so day five will be my life admin day. My priorities will be finally filing some very important paperwork and going through my finances.

06: Social Media Cleanse

My aim is to cleanse my social media by unfollowing anyone who I don’t actively want to follow or who doesn’t bring positivity to my feeds. We’re all guilty of following someone on Twitter once and then never really reading their tweets again, or following that Victoria’s Secrete model lookalike on Instagram whose account really only serves to make you feel bad. Day six – cleanse my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds of all those people! This is a great idea and one that will hopefully have long-term benefits to my mental health when I’m online.

And last but not least…

07: Focus on Drinking Enough Water

Every day, I carry round with me a large, 1 litre water bottle. My aim was always to drink at least two of these bottles a day, meaning I drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Sometimes this happens, but honestly it is a habit that has really slipped in recent weeks. I’m really disappointed with myself that I’ve let this habit drop and I need to get back on top of it! So, on day seven I will be aiming to drink at least 2 litres of water and I will make sure that I document it on my Twitter!

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Thanks again to Anneli for putting this challenge together. I think this will really give me and lots of other people a push to prioritise self-care in October.

Are you taking part? Let me know below if you are, and leave your social media handles so I can follow your progress. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SelfCareTogether as well!

Happy October…

The Self-Care Sloth