Cupcakes for Health and Well-being
World Mental Health Awareness Day is on the 10th October, for a full week in the United States and in Canada for all of October so this seemed like a good time to write this blog.
I want to start by saying that this subject is one that resonates with me personally. I have mentioned in previous blogs that I am sensitive by nature. I want to share with you my experience and to let you know that despite your anxieties and mental health issues that you can be successful (and I don’t necessarily mean in business but in life). I have had spells when I have not known which way to turn and where the path forward is. I want to show you that you can manage your mental health and run a successful global business.
I think it’s safe to say we all know someone who is suffering with some form of anxiety or mental health issue. I know from experience how difficult it is to admit this to others and so many still struggle to come forward and seek help and talk about it!
Each and every one of us wants to have good mental health and mostly we ignore it as we feel fine and get through the day. It is only when we fall by the wayside that the problems start. We need to know how to care for ourselves and to equip ourselves with strategies to cope before we get to crisis point.
Self-care is a huge subject for both men and woman. I cannot stress how important self-care is and how much we can improve our attitude and the levels of happiness.
There are many ways of practicing self-care… At the top of my list is interacting with people and exercising.
Running a busy business does make both of these difficult at times but I do try to ensure I take time out with family and friends. When you work from home you run the risk of becoming isolated. Since starting teaching I have had huge enjoyment from my interaction with students. I like to think I run a relaxed class and that we can have a laugh alongside the learning bit.
The exercise bit is more challenging but I do try to walk when I can rather than drive (or rather be driven as I don’t actually drive!!). As often as possible I go out for a brisk power walk after the little ones are safely tucked up in bed and my hubby is left to keep an eye on them. I am normally only out for about 30 minutes. It is good exercise for the heart and does help to clear my head. It is widely believed by the scientific community that exercise releases endorphins in the brain that booster the feel good factor and therefore very beneficial to those with mental health issues.
Just joining a friend for a ‘cuppa’ (a cup of tea for us brits but something similar would do the same) is so therapeutic and can lift your mood. It doesn’t have to be a long protracted affair just a 15 minute pop in after dropping the children off at school before heading home to continue your day (in my case to bake and pipe cupcakes). This helps set you up for the day. It is also a good time to get gripes (irritations) off your chest. Don’t expect your friends to solve your gripes but airing them is very therapeutic. I have to add that it is often at my house, that is where the cupcakes are and I live closest to the school!!!! Just 15 minutes can have a profoundly positive impact on your state of mind. It helps you feel connected and less isolated. If it is making you feel good, it is also doing this for your friends, so a double winner.
However, I really want to delve into another way we can all improve our own mental health and that is (drum roll!) doing something you LOVE! Yes, I’m talking about hobbies, something you really can get lost in, it might be reading, losing yourself in a great story that takes your mind somewhere else for a short while, some say ironing (and if you’re one of them please email me as I can certainly help in providing you with more), some thrive in thrill seeking, others enjoy being pampered in a glorious, relaxing spa somewhere ( I certainly like a bit of pampering) and then there are some who enjoy having their cake and eating it… literally.
Now I suppose you could say I am slightly biased but I started baking when I was sad and lonely as I had moved away from friends and family and had got into a bit of a state. I needed something that I could fully absorb myself in and create something to be proud of. I also found it very relaxing (maybe less so now on a busy day). Any activity that requires our full attention, especially if it’s simple and repetitive, is known to have calming qualities. Try and imagine for a second, how baking can actually stimulate the senses, you think I’m joking? Absolutely not! When the senses are stimulated, your body increases its feel-good endorphins.
Baking for most people is something we do for those around us, I mean, what would a birthday be without cake? And the fulfilment you receive from giving is one of the greatest feelings in the world. It doesn’t have to be just for a special occasion, as coffee time cupcakes for work colleagues will always go down well and will still increase the feel good factor. How about baking a cake for someone you know who may be lonely or has suffered loss. Just for them to know someone cared enough to bake them a cake will help them and will be good for you too.
Did you know that you can greatly improve your overall well-being by expressing yourself creatively? Some of my students struggling with health issues have taken my online tutorials without leaving the comfort and security of their home. The sense of achievement in making the first buttercream flower can be the first step to getting back out into the world. I have an amazing Facebook group exclusively for my students who all encourage each other especially the newbies. Every small achievement is a step in the right direction and can help improve self-esteem and help motivate you to the next step forward. It could even lead like it did for me into a full-time business.
I would absolutely love to hear from you and for you to share with me what baking does to help your well-being.