It's been a long day and you just got home. You're hungry, but you're low on money, and ordering in isn't in your budget. Great. You have to do more work and make yourself a meal. Instead of viewing meal prep as a chore, wouldn't it be nice to relax by cooking? That way you could destress and make dinner. Talk about multitasking, eh? Here's five ways how you can: 

1. Be proactive. 

Rachel Hicks

There's nothing worse than coming home to a pileup of stinky dishes in your sink. That turns you off from cooking and takes away any inspiration you may have had to use your kitchen. Make it a habit to clean your kitchen before you go to work, either at night or in the morning. A sparkling surface might just spark a tasty dinner idea. 

2. Light candles

Rachel Hicks

Cooking is a romantic art. Light some candles around your kitchen area to set the mood. Even if it's just you making food tonight, treat yourself to a nicely lit evening. Make sure the candles are either unscented or smell like something you're about to make. Otherwise they may interfere with the smells of the yummy food you're stirring up. There's nothing like having some candlelight while you relax by cooking. 

3. Slow down

Rachel Hicks

There's a good chance you're hangry after coming home from work or classes. Take some time to assort an appetizer plate for yourself while you come up with a plan about what to cook if you haven't already. Or just nibble on some small bites as you work on your main course. Cooking takes energy, so fuel up so you can focus and relax by cooking. 

4. Play music

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Denise Uy

Whether you prefer headphones or a speaker, turn on something calm to unwind. If you prefer to unwind with heavy metal or rap, do that. Whatever sound you like, play it and let your mind go to its happy place. 

5. Slow down

Rachel Hicks

In order to relax by cooking, it's important to notice every detail. Take in the different smells arising from the oven and stove-top pans. Feel the warmth of the food as it heats up. See the colors of the ingredients as they mix together. Don't cook solely to eat. Cook to slow down and unwind. Revel in the joy of doing something good for yourself that takes time and thought. Cooking is a basic necessity in life, and we might as well use it to unwind. Enjoy!