Stressbuster #1: The Restorative Power Of Making a Pot Of Soup

Last week a friend made some soup for me for lunch. I felt loved, and valued. And the soup was tasty too. She told me the ingredients, if not the quantities. This week, I find myself standing on a beach with one wave trying to pull my feet out from under me, and another looming ahead, ready to dump me on my backside. So on our weekly shop, I tossed the ingredients for the soup in the trolley.

I love soup. On cold winter days, or when I’m feeling ill, there are few things that bring a smile to my heart the way a good, warming soup can. But yesterday, when breathing easy was difficult, and the looming challenges threatened to overwhelm, I chose the solace of making soup. Peel the veg. Throw the peelings away. Slice the veg, then chop it, then cube it, then stack it a small pile on your chopping board. And repeat, as the earthy fragrances fill your nose, the slide-thud of the knife echoes your heartbeat. Your breathing slows and you are in that place where it is only you and the vegetables. Then you stir them in the pot, and watch as the colour changes, as they sweat their way to tastiness. Add some vegetable stock, a little seasoning. Time. And it’s done.

It’s the repetition that’s so helpful. The immersive sensory experience, requiring just enough concentration (it is a knife, after all) that you need to pay attention, but not so much that paying attention is arduous. That pot of soup will, by the time its work is done, have blessed me three times over. Once in the making, and twice in the eating (we had it for lunch today, but there is enough left for me to have it tomorrow too).

Sometimes we can find rest and restoration very close to home. We just need to pay attention.

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