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Coping with Cooking

When it comes to coping with stress and anxiety, going for a walk or practicing deep breathing may be helpful. If you are looking to try something new, the latest coping strategy, called culinary arts therapy, combines cooking along with traditional therapy. It is being used to treat many types of mental health and behavioral health conditions including depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Cooking is a form of treatment that not only helps one cope, but offers you a good meal as well!

Culinary arts therapy can be done individually, with a family, or even with employees in a workshop setting. Therapist Julie Ohana shared, “It’s really an exercise in mindfulness. When you’re lining up things, cutting things in a certain way, you really get into a groove. You’re really able to focus on what you’re doing, be in the moment, and let other things go.”

With cooking being a relaxing activity, individuals may open up about emotions they are feeling and may be able to communicate more openly with their therapist during the cooking session. This could, in turn, lead to opening up to family members while cooking in their own homes. Both are great ways to reduce mental health issues and focus on self-care.

There are some clinics that specifically offer culinary art therapy that are located in Connecticut, Florida, and Georgia. And, if a clinic offers a form of creative art therapy, they may also have culinary art therapy. So, it is good to inquire about it when you reach out to a clinic. Even if there isn’t a clinic nearby, try cooking a meal at home. Culinary art therapy has even been shown to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and even increase one’s brain development. These are all positive impacts and you end up with a home-cooked meal too!


Lori Atkinson, Operations Director for The Kim Foundation

Lori Atkinson joined The Kim Foundation in May 2015. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Middle Level Education. She was an 8th grade English teacher in the Omaha Public Schools from 1992 – 2000, a stay at home mom for several years, and then started a small non-profit in her husband’s memory during 2010. Lori carries out many duties for The Kim Foundation which includes: scheduling presentations in the community, hosting booths at conferences, managing the Art & Creative Writing Contest, coordinating the School Resource Fair, organizing the Suicide Prevention PSA Contest, assisting with the annual luncheon, and participating in the coalition’s community outreach group. Lori is the proud mom of three children and is actively involved in her church.