Burnout is more than just stress, it’s prolonged stress. The World Health Organization defines burnout as an occupational phenomenon resulting from workplace stress that wasn’t managed effectively. And it doesn’t only exist in the workplace—it can happen in the kitchen, too, especially in this pandemic. 

Cooking can impact mental and emotional well-being, but pandemic cooking burnout is also a thing. Here are some ways to cope with it.

Declutter your kitchen

“Does it spark joy?” This principle from “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” applies as well to messy kitchens. Visual clutter can translate to mental clutter. Give yourself more space in the kitchen by donating or selling equipment or tools you don’t necessarily use. Throw away food that are beyond their expiry date and recycle storage containers. Decluttering your counters allows you to move around your area easily and access the things you need for meal preparation.

Keep it simple

If you know that staying too long in the kitchen isn’t the best for your state of mind right now, keep your meals simple. Especially when you’re on a busy schedule, cook meals that won’t take up too much of your time but are still healthy and within your budget. You can never go wrong with simple ingredients that bring out food’s natural flavors.

Express yourself

Let your plates be your canvas. If you feel like you’ve been whipping up the same meals over and over again, experiment with flavors and presentation that will make it more you. Better yet, conduct research and development from time to time. Take inspiration from anything that puts you at ease and at your best. Remember, cooking is an art form itself.