Many families go through divorce. According to data published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), nearly half of American marriages split up before the 20th wedding anniversary. While divorce is far from rare, for the person who is actually going through it, it is normal to feel alone. There are so many complex emotional and logistical issues that need to be resolved. Things can feel completely overwhelming.
Notably, eating meals, particularly the loss of family dinner, can hit people especially hard. Scientific research has shown that eating dinner together as a family is a bonding experience. A family dinner promotes better emotional and social relationships, for both children and adults. The end of a marriage can disrupt that bond. This comes on top of the fact that a divorce also creates basic logistical problems for many people, especially if one partner did the majority of the shopping and/or cooking.
For this and other reasons, learning and focusing on the art of cooking can help divorcées adapt to their new lifestyle. Cooking provides a useful outlet for a person to develop their own unique creativity and self-expression. Further, it can help newly separated adults regain control of their own life, and help parents build a strong bond with their children that allow their kids to take their young minds off a confusing time.
Why the Art of Cooking Can Help You Control Your Life and Express Yourself
Give Yourself a Productive Outlet
If you are going through a separation, it is normal to feel sad, angry, frustrated and generally stressed. By putting your energy into cooking, you will have a productive outlet to focus these emotions. As was noted in a meta-analytic review published in the Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, finding a productive, positive outlet is one of the keys to successful post-divorce adjustment.
Foster Your Own Creativity
One of the biggest benefits of cooking is that it is an activity that can be tailored to any person’s individual needs and desires. Cooking allows you to be creative: you can make what you want, when you want to do it. There is a deep body of evidence that strongly supports the notion that cooking promotes creativity and mindfulness. In fact, even back in the 13th century, one of the most prominent Japanese Zen philosophers published the “Instructions for the Tenzo”, a now widely-translated book exalting the virtues of cooking and drawing parallels between cooking and spiritual training.
Take Care of Yourself Through Cooking
For divorcées who already cook on a regular basis, the activity can provide a positive outlet for them to develop their self-expression. Though, for divorcées who rarely or never cook, the loss of their partner comes with a significant logistical disruption. In this circumstance, it can be tempting to simply rely on take-out and premade store-bought meals. While this can certainly provide a stop-gap, it is not a long-term solution. For your physical health, your wallet, and your sanity, learning to cook can provide tremendous benefits.
Establishing a New Family Dynamic Through Cooking
If you are a parent who is going through a divorce, you are no doubt facing some extra challenges. Not only do you have to take care of your own emotional needs, but you need to be there to provide support for your children. In this, cooking can offer multiple overlapping benefits. From the purely practical point of view, you can cook with your children around you. If age-appropriate, your kids can even assist you in the task. Beyond simply making a meal to feed your kids, there are proven long-term benefits associated with parents cooking with their children. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reports that children who cook with their parents:
- Build a positive bond
- Get a self-esteem boost
- Learn important skills
- Develop an appreciation for a healthy diet.
The Chopping Block offers family night classes each month where the entire family cooks together. Join us for Family Night: Breakfast for Dinner on Sunday, February 25 at 5pm at our Lincoln Square location.
It is Never Too Late to Develop an Interest in Cooking
As most people age, they begin to become more reluctant to get into new hobbies. The (often subconscious) belief that people have is that it is simply too late to start something new. With cooking, this is a serious misconception. It truly is never too late to develop a strong interest in cooking. If you have never made anything more advanced than a bowl of pasta, taking a cooking class will give you new skills. You just may find that cooking is the perfect activity for you!