Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and be stress free


Nicole McIsaac

With a pile of assignments on her to-do list, Managing Editor Nicole McIsaac made over 50 pumpkin pie snickerdoodle cookies as a way to destress.

Nicole McIsaac, Managing Editor

Life gets stressful, especially in college. While some turn to exercise, painting or maybe even therapeutic shopping to curb their daily tensions, I turn to baking an obscene amount of fresh goods.

Cookies, bread, cakes and brownies — you name it. Stress baking is a common coping mechanism in which an individual unnecessarily bakes to deal with a lot on their shoulders.

I mean, how could I handle having the first draft of my senior capstone enterprise story due at 11:59 p.m. without baking over 50 pumpkin pie snickerdoodle cookies in two hours?

Although I have always loved to bake since I was young, the measuring and stirring of ingredients took a different meaning once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It tackled the uncertainty of times and allowed me to take control of what I could physically manage during a period that was completely out of my hands.

However, I am not the only one who turned to the baking sheets during such “unprecedented times.”

According to a 2021 study performed by Denison Digital Commons at Denison University, researcher Ellen Pitstick spotlighted how college students used stress baking as a direct result of being forced to stay in the confinement of their homes during the pandemic.

“The initial lockdown in the United States introduced a multitude of unfamiliar sources of stress: daily routines were required to change and individuals found nearly all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic to be outside of their control,” Pitstick wrote.

While stress baking didn’t necessarily start during the pandemic, I believe the time of uncertainty and lockdown encouraged many individuals to finally take out the measuring cups.

Over two years later, I am still learning new recipes on Pinterest and showing up to my friends’ houses on a weekly basis to deliver large amounts of pastries for absolutely no reason.

And don’t get me wrong, baking that amount of sweets is probably eating up more time that I could be spending on hitting the textbooks and not the cookbooks. But it’s important to incorporate a healthy balance of leisure activities while tackling my insane schedule and workload.

While you might be quick to call stress baking a distraction, don’t be so eager to put down the whisk and not give it a stir. The productive element of baking and cooking could be your solution to stop your next breakdown.

According to an article from CNET, senior writer Erin Carson highlights how baking serves as a healthy coping mechanism because it “engages just about your whole body.”

“Your senses of touch, taste and smell; your brain, which is required to follow a recipe; your muscles for kneading, shaping, rolling,” Carson wrote.

When the world seems to be caving in around you and your to-do list is rolled down to the floor, finding a way to really ground yourself as an individual is beneficial for all involved. It’s a way to better focus.

Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of banana bread lingering in the air of your home? It’s a more calmer scent than your lavender or sage diffuser spritzing out mist in the back of your room.

In addition to engaging all parts of yourself while in the kitchen, stress baking also serves as a way to tap into your creative side. I mean, baking is technically an art, right?

Decorating and focusing on the detail closely correlates to that of picking up a paintbrush in your free time.Except for whatever you make while baking, you can actually eat.

If you’re looking for another alternative to dealing with your stressors, try heading to the kitchen to channel your Betty Crocker. It might just make your life a little sweeter.