I got into tea—not just the cup but the ritual—when Maggy spent her junior year in England. I had traveled in the UK before and always enjoyed teatime, but much like the toast rack I bought at Portobello Market, it never made its way into my everyday life.
But experiencing daily tea with Maggy that week made me realize it was more than just a fun, vacationy thing to do. Teatime actually serves a practical daily function: formalizing a few peaceful moments that, in turn, energize for the day’s final push.
After that trip I started to incorporate this late-afternoon ritual into my life. I found that taking time to sit with a cup of tea soothed me—just a few minutes was like a mini-retreat. I got up refreshed, ready to finish the day’s work with gusto.
Since then I’ve enjoyed daily tea and a sweet, which keeps me content and prevents me from overindulging. Allowing myself a couple of late-afternoon cookies means I’m less tempted to devour the whole jar. It also tames my hunger so that when I walk into the kitchen to make dinner I don’t feel a need to raid the pantry or scarf half the dinner prep. Who would ever have thought eating a cookie could be so good for you!
I’ll admit, however that I’m less good than I used to be at taking time to sit with my cup of tea and cookie. I’m more likely to do it on the fly—and I can tell. Without the break, I’m a little more lethargic, a little less joyful at day’s end. The furrow in my brow is a little more pronounced.
Not long ago, I stopped at a pastry shop to have tea. The little verse on their napkin reminded that I needed to reclaim teatime’s full benefits. “A little pleasure for the taste, a little pause for the soul.”