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What Getting Out in Nature Can Teach Us About Baking

The mid-afternoon slump is a common predicament of millions, particularly office workers. But studies show that we would do well to skip the coffee or soda and to get out in nature to perk ourselves up. Research indicates that being in the natural world can increase our energy and our vitality and just generally help us to flourish. And baking in the kitchen, surprisingly, can have many of the same effects. Consider the following:

Heighten your senses. Connecting with nature connects us with our senses, opening them up to the wonders of the outdoor world. Similarly, baking fuels our senses as we see, touch, smell, and taste throughout the process of baking and enjoy fruits of our labor. You may not realize it, but by baking a loaf of bread or a batch of cupcakes (or taking a walk in the woods), you can fine-tune your senses. 

Get energized. If you find yourself in a slump, either mentally or physically (or both), exposing yourself to nature can help. So too can the creative process of baking. Make baking an imaginative event by eschewing the recipe or experimenting with ingredients, and you’ll get an even bigger mental boost.

Reduce stress. Studies suggest that getting out in nature helps lower stress levels. Baking can have the same effect, as it takes your mind off your troubles while you focus on the task at hand. Let your kitchen serve as a restorative environment while you whip up some baked goods — then head out for a walk in the great outdoors while they cool.