Why We Bake, Start a Garden, and Watch Re-Runs This Pandemic

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Just one scroll through your Twitter or Instagram timeline will tell you how people cope with the pandemic. With more time on their hands, many people are baking. Others spend their days re-watching their favorite TV shows. Those who have outdoor space get their trowels and rakes out to start their garden. But out of all the hobbies to start or revisit, why do we cling to these three?

Seeking a sense of comfort and control

The coronavirus pandemic brings a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. Re-watching our old favorites helps us cling to nostalgia and normalcy. Because unlike life in a pandemic, we know exactly what’s going to happen in the story, what will happen to our favorite characters, and how the story will end.

The same goes for baking. Compared to cooking, baking demands more focus and accuracy. The exact mixes of ingredients being combined are expected to bring certain results. From making sure we use the right amount of flour to learning the right way to whisk the liquid ingredients, we gain a sense of control.

Gardening also comes with predictable outcomes that can ground us when we feel terrified and uncertain. We can achieve a healthy garden by simply following plant care instructions and tips from ISA arborists.

Yearning for accomplishment

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Kneading the dough, digging in the dirt, and watching reruns give us effort-based rewards. After mixing ingredients, cutting the dough, and placing it in the oven, we can get to eat bread. We may make a few mistakes caring for seedlings, but sprouting is still possible with the right adjustments. When we sit through the finale, we feel happy and fulfilled. These rewards give us a sense of accomplishment, which is important to have now that we don’t even know how and when the pandemic will end.

Clinging to our survival instincts

While baking and gardening may not directly relate to surviving a deadly virus, they provide us a feeling of competence. We can’t guarantee we won’t lose our jobs, but we can turn water, flour, and yeast into sourdough bread and grow our own food—we can survive. #Quarantinebaking isn’t just a trendy hashtag on social media; it’s a collective display that our survival instincts are kicking in.

Clicking the same title on Netflix over and over again, on the other hand, is like opening a time capsule. You will likely remember how your parents always clear their Sunday afternoons to watch Disney movies with you or how your friends ended up having a fun debate about the finale of How I Met Your Mother. Memories that lived inside our favorite shows and movies remind us of who we are. In a way, this clear sense of well-being helps us believe in ourselves—that we can rise above difficult circumstances.

Living through a pandemic isn’t something anyone expects (well, except for several researchers). But thanks to our survival instincts and innate yearning for comfort, control, and accomplishment, we get to cope through a healthy garden, relaxing TV show marathons, and freshly baked bread in our kitchen.

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