Much has changed in my life in recent years, as I’ve morphed from law-firm-lawyer to work-at-home-mom to stay-at-home-mom to aspiring writer, but some things have stayed the same, and one thing in particular has been a source of comfort to me as I navigated each of those very different situations: in the early afternoon I have a cup of tea. It’s a small treat, just a small break in my day. Most of the time the only “break” is the actual brewing of the tea- once it’s made, I often return immediately to whatever I was working on, mug of tea in hand. “Whatever I was working on” varied widely in different times of my life- it could have been writing a law memorandum in an air-conditioned suite, or sitting in my home office (a.k.a. corner of my living room) shuffling through piles of work papers interspersed with baby magazines and a note from day care that my daughter might have been exposed to strep throat, or more recently, sitting with my daughter on the couch and wondering why I had bought her a sewing kit that came with hopelessly confusing instructions.
My tea time ritual is a little oasis during my day- I stop whatever work/family thing I’m doing, listen to the kettle pop and gurgle as the water heats, and ponder which tea to drink. I’m no tea aficionado- I just get regular bagged tea, in herbal and decaf black varieties, but nonetheless it’s a treat to pick the flavor and anticipate the comforting warmth of the mug in my hands. Speaking of warmth, I used to reserve my afternoon tea for colder days, but then I read The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, a fictional series in which the irreppressable Botswanian protagonist boldly extols the virtues of drinking hot tea on hot African days, and tea-drinking became an all-weather phenomenon for me.
So this little daily tea ritual that I have, small and unassuming as it is, is one of my favorite parts of the day. In this month’s Good Housekeeping magazine, Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, celebrated the virtues of “small treats,” pointing out their ability to refresh and energize us, and boost our overall happiness. I couldn’t agree with her more, assuming you’re picking treats that are not too expensive for your budget (this is a money-saving blog, after all). So I encourage you to make time for a small ritual treat for yourself each day- we all deserve a little pause in the day, a moment to reflect and let go of stress and busyness, even if only for a couple minutes.