Let’s Talk About Anxiety and Baking

When I was told by my past therapist to channel my anxiety and depression into a hobby, I knew that baking would be what I adopted. It was something that I already loved to do, but my love for it had sort of gone by the wayside over the course of a few years due to life taking over. I thought, “this is the perfect excuse to pick it back up again.” And it really, really helped.

Until it didn’t.

I used to bake solely for joy. I would bake with my grandmother while she taught me a recipe, or I’d bake for the occasional gathering at my university. I was a very casual baker that liked to experiment every now and then, so quite honestly I didn’t really think twice about the outcome. Sure, I wanted it to taste delicious. But appearance? Perfection? Those terms rarely came to mind.

When I began to channel my anxiety into my bakes, perfection suddenly reared its ugly head and wormed its way to the forefront of my mind. Of course, when I nailed something, this was great. It was the endorphin rush that I needed. But when something didn’t come out quite right? Or failed altogether? It would chip away at my confidence. And let’s be real – home bakers fail more often than not, so my confidence and self-esteem really started to sink.

I’m saying all of this because I don’t think I’m the only one who is like this, especially with baking. Baking is an escape for a lot of us. It keeps you on your feet and channels creativity – both really good ways to fight anxiety and depression along with other methods you may be prescribed. But when it goes wrong, it can go really wrong. This can make it really easy to want to give up, or to abandon your hobbies and passions. And after maybe the third or fourth baking flop, those inner voices really start to want to take over.

“I’m not good enough” 

“I think I’m better than I actually am”

“People are just being nice when they say they like my food. They actually hate it”

I’ve had a pretty rough go of it myself these past few weeks and I’ve been trying so hard to not let myself get down. The picture of the pie on this post is from this past Father’s Day. It’s a double berry (strawberry and blueberry) rhubarb pie. I was so excited to make this and hopefully share the recipe on here, and it was my first attempt at very basic pie crust art and I was thrilled with how it turned out. But when we cut into the pie? An absolute mess. After researching it, I think I didn’t allow the filling to come to a nice bubble so it didn’t gel like a pie should. It was very piece-y and the bottom was semi-soggy (should have blind baked, duh). The flavor was there, but I was absolutely crushed. Those voices of doubt began to come out of the woodwork, and the feelings of inadequacy started to rush over me. “It’s not perfect. Therefore, the entire pie sucks.”

I tend to express all of these feelings to my other half, Claude. So on our way back home after cutting into it I tore the pie apart, talked about how much of a failure it was, and how his dad was just being nice about enjoying it. But my boyfriend said something to me that really helped put things in perspective:

“You enjoyed making it, right?”
“Well, yes.”
“Then it isn’t a failure at all.”

And you know what? He’s right. I absolutely loved baking this. I loved making the crust. I loved chopping up the fruits. I loved assembling it. So just because there were some flaws in the pie, does that mean I should hate everything about it?

No. The answer is no.

I know my little food blog is very small (hi to all my 20 followers!) but I think that food bloggers don’t acknowledge their failures often enough. We spend a lot of time making everything look perfect, when really most baking experiments are anything but. So instead of letting my pie failure poke and prod at my insecurities like I usually do, I thought I would offer it up to the world in hopes that someone else struggling will read this and realize that they are not alone.

I hope if you’re struggling with your hobby (whether it be baking, airplane building, or whatever) that you can let these thoughts resonate with you. A few failures do not mean that you’re not good at what you love to do. One bad pie doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again. It should, at the end of the day, be about how much you love what you do and how happy it makes you.

And while it’s important to keep practicing, it is just as important to know when to take a break. If a hobby or passion project suddenly turns into something that stresses you out and makes you unhappy, in my opinion, then it’s time to reevaluate. It’s okay to take some time away and come back at it with full force.

I know this is extremely rambly, but these are just some thoughts I’ve had recently that I’ve been wanting to get out of my brain! Yes – I will be attempting another fruit pie this weekend. It’s an excuse to practice, make more crust art, and of course eat more pie.

You’re a good baker, and I’m proud of you. ❤

 

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