Baking away the stress


Photo by Alyssa Kift

Story by Cameron Murry, staff writer

She whisks the yolks as she hums a soft melody, flour covering her shirt. Her mind is calm for the first time in weeks, her only worry being if she remembered to spray cooking oil in the bundt pan.

My friends say that I’m “such a Paula Deen,” but baking is just something I’ve always enjoyed doing. It started in my childhood with my first Easy-Bake Oven. The undercooked brownies I baked under the lightbulb brought smiles to my family’s faces. I still remember my little apron, one of the first feelings of accomplishment in my life.

Sure, baking is no great feat, but it can be. Baking has become an outlet for me. It releases weeks of pent-up anxiety and frustration. It turns my overwhelming load of schoolwork and my Advanced Placement schedule into something better. Something sweet.

I’ve had anxiety problems since middle school, and very few things possess the ability to truly calm me down. Sometimes it’s hard for me to cope with my lack of sleep and want for a social life on top of my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. Staying on top of my education is a tough job to do, but my worries seem to disappear when I’m mixing up a bowl of cookie dough.

There are plenty of ways to handle stress. Anything that is healthy and productive, while also being wholesome and fulfilling, is something that I would call a good coping skill.

Baking has become an outlet for me. It releases weeks of pent-up anxiety and frustration.”

— Murry

I have begun to realize how my worries melted away during holiday baking the Christmas of my sophomore year. I was busy rolling apple wedges into crescent rolls for dumplings and realized that nothing else mattered in that moment. I was focused on the dough and fruit in front of me.

My skills have grown since my discovery of this anti-anxiety agent. I can remember an attempt at making a boxed brownie recipe and ending up with rocks. I’ve learned how to make more than stones, now. Instead of using boxed powders, I now prefer making baked goods from scratch. There’s more of an opportunity to experiment with different flavors and ingredients when you take the time to make a recipe your own.

When you sift your own flour and make your own batter, the problems that stress you out practically disappear. With the mess in the kitchen needing to be cleaned and the cookies in the oven, there’s no time for thinking about anything else.

The feeling of accomplishment that I get when I see people enjoying the things I have made can only be described as heartwarming. Baking has been my go-to stress reliever, and I would recommend it to anyone in need.