Procrastination, Stress, and Baking by Clara Labelle and Valerie Lam

Ah, baking. Preheating ovens, flour explosions, the sweet smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and a little struggling gremlin of a student shoveling said cookies in her mouth at warp speed. Can you picture it? That may or may not be Clara the night before a big test. On the other hand, Valerie is studying for that test and will reward her guaranteed ‘A’ with some homemade sweet buns.

Clara: For me, baking has always been tied with stress and procrastination. Sometimes after a particularly packed day, I just want to eat a billion cookies and relax. Nothing is better after finishing an essay than a chocolatey brownie and some Netflix. Sometimes I also use baking to help me procrastinate. If I don’t feel like doing something: “hey, I should make some banana bread real quick.” It’s a great distraction and makes for a good snack when I “study” later (I don’t really end up studying, more like distracting myself even more). Plus, the delicious smells would relax anyone! Occasionally, I’ll feel like I need to have a baked good after a hard day, so I’ll head over to Market of Choice or another store like that to pick up one of those cake slices. I love having that variety and it’s perfect for my sugar fix!

Valerie: Unlike Clara, baking for me is a way to have fun and create aesthetically pleasing food that explodes with flavor. Whether it’s after school, on days off, or on the weekends, I bake chocolate cakes to sweet taro buns. Obviously though, eating that much sugar will probably kill me in the next few years, so I always share them with my friends. On days that I have a test or a ton of homework, I skip the baking and focus on studying; but, I always come back to baking as a yummy reward. With this reward comes relief from stress. Stress can be really hard to get through and overcome, but baking is a fun and easy way to feel achieved and successful. So I definitely recommend trying it!   

Clara: I don’t always bake because I’m being a bad student, I also do it for fun. For summer holidays or get-togethers I might make a key lime pie (those are really good!), or I tried making a banana cream pie, too! For some friends, I’ll make cookies and once for Valerie, I even made them purple. Sometimes I’ll just bake some cookies because my mom wants the house to smell nice. After some good days at school, I might just bake because I’m in a good mood. My favorite thing to make is chocolate chip cookies and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Valerie can attest that my cookies are delicious 😛

Valerie: Yes. The cookies are definitely delicious. Salty and sweet…. Yum yum. Anyway, the baking I do is always for fun. Making delicious pastries and desserts for my friends and family is always a win for me and a win for the person I give it too. The most popular in my household is the Chocolate Castella Cake (also a fan of Clara’s family), Milk Buns (which sometimes are purple), and of course, blueberry muffins (my sister’s secret recipe).   

There’s a reason why baking is actually a good stress reliever. When you’re stressed, it’s usually because you feel out of control and things aren’t going your way. Baking is a great way to get that feeling of control back. When baking, you have to be precise and focused. These qualities may help you feel calm again. Baking also gives you a tangible reward at the end, so it’ll give you that feeling of accomplishment. Baking keeps you distracted from your stress, it provides comfort and something to look forward to, and it may give you that sense of control and accomplishment that you so need when you’re feeling stressed. Plus, stressed spelled backwards is desserts so that can’t be a coincidence!

Dealing with stress isn’t easy, so find healthy ways to cope. Some good methods are to talk to others, take care of yourself, and to take a break. Eat healthy (so maybe don’t bake all the time), get some exercise, and get plenty of sleep (we should probably do more of this stuff too). If you’re overloaded with work, then take a quick break and make a list of small steps for you to work on. This will break up the task and make it a lot easier for you to go through. Baking is a good way to take a step back from your work and is a great way to relax for a little bit. But don’t be like Clara and turn it into a procrastination method. Treat yourself, but stay healthy while you do it. 

Recipes!

Chocolate Castella Cake
Coconut Milk Bread (customizable to your preferences
Key Lime Pie (use any graham cracker crust recipe too!)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Banana Bread

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