For many who have visited London (or dream to), the words ‘mind the gap’ are nostalgic in their simplicity. They are a warning to passengers travelling on the Tube (London Underground), but they are so famous they have been printed on T-shirts, mugs, fridge magnets and all sorts of other paraphernalia. This is a great example of how a simple thing can acquire a higher meaning.
And I’d like to advocate we should do the same with tea.
Darker days and blue thoughts
Do you find yourself feeling a bit gloomier as the days get shorter in the winter? That’s okay, most people do! I personally get very excited about the preparations for Christmas so my mood is much higher in December. But come January, I count the days to spring. For others, though, Christmas time is stressful with all the shopping, preparations and thoughts of facing annoying relatives and being on your best behaviour. And that’s okay too.
Whatever makes us stressed or sad or just a bit blue, there’s a simple way in which your daily cup of tea can help elevate the spirit.
Take time to savour tea
Mindfulness has become an overhyped word, but I think it’s really important to a healthy life. Simply put, it’s about living the moment and being aware of your feelings. You can do it really easily by taking the time to focus on your breathing and body presence for 5 minutes or longer. Or you can combine it with a cup of tea. Here’s what I do when I feel the need to just take a break from life and engage all the senses.
1. Go to the kitchen and pour water in the kettle. As you do, listen and really take in the sound of the water pouring. I know it’s easy to get distracted by thinking of what you’re cooking for dinner or how long you have until your next meeting, but just focus on the sound of the water.
2. Put the kettle to boil and focus on either the sound of the water starting to boil or, if you have a transparent kettle, watch the bubbles form as the water starts to boil. You mind might naturally drift off, but gently bring it back to the sound or sight.
3. Take your favourite tea out and measure it for your infuser. Or use a teabag if you must. But before you put it in the mug or cup, take a few seconds to smell the tea leaves.
4. As you pour the water on the leaves, watch the colour of the brew changing. If your mind drifts off again, close your eyes and try to smell the aroma of the tea.
5. Once you’re happy, take your leaves or teabag out and do something easy while waiting for the tea to cool down. Watch the people and cars pass in the street, for example. When you’re ready to taste it, take the time to think about the taste.
That’s it! You can definitely spare 5 minutes of your time to just detach from the day to day and let your mind wander. And you’ll be happier for it, I promise!