Tired Of Cooking During The Lockdown? Doctor’s Tips To Battle Pandemic Cooking Burnout

Pandemic cooking was all the rage last year. The lockdown led everyone to channel their inner MasterChef by whipping up treats like banana bread, pancakes, Dalgona coffee, and so much more. It was something that people thoroughly enjoyed and loved doing! Cooking and baking became the ultimate escape. 

However, this year cooking is not about trying new recipes, but about getting the bare minimum done. With so much going on, people are emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. Hence, this time cooking is being looked upon as more of a mundane task and many people are experiencing a pandemic cooking burnout. We got in touch with Dr Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai to help understand this exhaustion better and got her to dish out ways to deal with it. 

What is pandemic cooking burnout?



a woman cooking in a kitchen preparing food: Image Credit: Hina Khan, Instagram


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Image Credit: Hina Khan, Instagram

Burnout is a psychological issue associated with exhaustion, low productivity and disinterest in previously liked activities. Dr Anand explains, “Cooking burnout is being seen in the pandemic as there has been no substantial relief in the current situation. Fearfulness and uncertainty still occupy our thoughts, and drain us emotionally. It is essential to differentiate cooking burnout from general depression. Depression could cause disinterest in general, and be associated with gloomy feelings, sleep or appetite disorders.”

Here’s how you can deal with it:



Pooja Hegde cooking food in a bowl: Image Credit: Pooja Hegde, Instagram


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Image Credit: Pooja Hegde, Instagram

Stay in the moment

It’s now necessary to start looking at the positive side of the situation you are in. Mindfulness can really help here. It’s imperative to get involved in the moment and relate routine tasks to good memories. Dr Anand suggests, “Use your senses of sight, smell and touch, and try rebooting your cooking mojo. Music in the kitchen can rev you up. Keep the cooking simple and get the family involved in the cooking process. Little children can help in setting the table. Get more organised and make a weekly schedule of dishes to cook so that you don’t have to come up with something at the last moment.”

Cooking is actually therapeutic, and can really help in reducing anxiety and mild depression. It serves as a good medium of expressing creativity, passion and love. “Partners cooking together form stronger bonds and are able to understand each other better. Kitchen smells have an important role to play in creating appetites and making the environment conducive for a peaceful dinner time,” Dr Anand added.



Tamannaah Bhatia sitting at a table with a plate of food: Image Credit: Tamannaah Bhatia, Instagram


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Image Credit: Tamannaah Bhatia, Instagram

Practise self-compassion

Cooking burnout can feel overwhelming and disturbing as eating food constitutes an essential part of our lives. To deal with this pandemic cooking burnout it’s essential to do away with the negativity related to the burnout and change the way you think about cooking. Dr Anand advises, “It’s okay to feel mentally exhausted and natural to be a bit upset. Self-compassion should be considered. Self-blame or looking down on oneself should be avoided as everyone is going through a crisis during this time.”

Maintain a schedule with health and gratitude as your prime focus 

Time management and meal prepping in advance can help. Looking after your general health is equally important. Dr Anand suggests, “Exercise and yoga should be emphasised and nurtured. Having a good night’s sleep can give you the energy required for the next day. Chronic sleep deprivation and poor sleep hygiene can slow the brain and make you disinterested in routine. Make sure your blood investigation parameters are normal, especially Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 levels. Maintain a diary during these turbulent times and write two things everyday that you are grateful for. Mention the things that you are taking for granted and try to give them more thought and value.”

Lead Image Credit: Malaika Arora, Daisy Shah, Karishma Tanna, Instagram