One of the most difficult things to find in life is balance. The older we get the busier we become and the harder it can be to find calm.
You can create calm in your life no matter how hectic it is, by making it a priority for you. One of the best ways I have found is to establish rituals that are important and meaningful to you and including these regularly in your day.
For me, my oasis of calm is created with tea rituals, which I find easy to implement and doesn’t take up much time.
So, I would like to share with you my ultimate guide to creating calm and presence in your life with tea rituals.
Why is it so hard to find calm?
Our lives are not necessarily busier than they were for our parents or grandparents, but it certainly seems like it. Because we live in a digital age we can be completely switched on 24 hours a day, and constantly receiving information that we may not need or be able to handle.
When our emotions are constantly running, it gets harder and harder to manage them.
It is incredibly important to learn to slow down and switch off regularly to recharge our batteries and to give us time to process what has been going on.
Without this time to process, our minds and emotions stay at a heightened level of stress, which can cause feelings of anxiety and anger, as well as taking a considerable toll on our physical health.
We can create calm in our lives by not waiting for the stress to build up and not putting off taking breaks until we are completely burnt out. Start adding moments every day to remind yourself to be calm.
Relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness are wonderful examples, but you can get the same benefits from something even easier to learn and simpler to add to your day.
Habit vs ritual
We all have things that we repeat every day, things that have become habit or routine. While you can find comfort and stability in habits, they do not have the extra power and presence of rituals.
A habit is a behaviour or action that is repeated so often that it has become automatic. This could include making your bed, brushing your teeth or checking your phone as soon as you wake up. Having a cup of tea or coffee is a very common habit for people, but for most it is no more than that.
A habit is something that you can do without thinking – a ritual by its very nature requires focus and thought.
A ritual is a symbolic action imbued with deeper meaning than the action itself, and can be used to connect with purpose.
Enacting a ritual can make even the most ordinary elements of everyday life enjoyable and magical.
Which ritual is the right one for you?
So, you may be starting to think that rituals are a good idea, but how do you know which one is right for you? You can’t just choose any ritual and have it become meaningful instantly. But you may need to try a few before you find one that really helps you connect with yourself.
In assessing what are good rituals to establish to boost your well-being, it may be helpful to ask yourself some of the following questions:
What aspects of my life do I really love and care about, and would like to connect more deeply with? How would I benefit from such a deeper connection?
For me, the ritual is tea!
The benefits of tea
For thousands of years, people have benefited from the energy and healing qualities of tea. Black tea which is the most popular one worldwide has many health and well-being benefits, while you can give yourself an extra health boost by switching to green tea.
The benefits of tea include:
- It is high in antioxidants, helping to fight free radicals and give your immune system an oomph.
- It gives you a focus and energy boost from the caffeine, but is leas stimulating for you than coffee.
- It may help you to lose weight and manage conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- It may help with heart health and the risk of stroke.
- It may help promote healthy bacteria in the gut.
- It may lower blood sugar levels and help with conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease.
- It may boost your mood and help to manage conditions like depression.
In our hyper-connected, busy world, we need tea now more than ever before.
Tea is not only delicious, it is also a reminder to slow down and reground. Plus, it gives us a great ritual to enjoy for ourselves, or with our family and friends.
Why are tea rituals so powerful?
Tea rituals are powerful in a number of different ways.
They provide comfort for us in an uncertain world, no matter how old we are. Your grandma’s tea rituals that you so fondly remember? They provide something familiar and a sense of belonging and stability.
Tea gives us feelings of balance, control, and security in an ever-changing world. The tea ritual also supports our innate need for structure and predictability.
Tea rituals encourage healthy self-care and self-love. They invite us to remove ourselves from the ordinary flow of life and to set aside time to remind ourselves we are important, valuable, and deserving of tender care.
They force us to remember that our emotions need time to settle, and our mental accumulations need space to precipitate. We need time to make connections between what we are thinking and how we are feeling, and to process both.
Tea rituals encourage connection with yourself and with others. Drinking tea can be transformed into an act of being in tune with yourself and getting back in touch with others – a sharing of experience and creating memories.
Tea rituals turn something small and everyday into a form of communion with yourself. If done without thought, drinking tea is just pouring hot water into a cup with a bunch of tea leaves.
But with intention, reflection and mindfulness can be brought about by creating the right setting and experience of the tea ritual. This way we cut through the chatter and clatter of modern life.
(RELATED: Read more about how to increase our awareness from just the simple act of mindfully brewing tea: Stop and Breathe – How to Increase Awareness from Brewing Tea)
We take something simple and easy that anyone can do, and transform it into something incredibly powerful.
How tea rituals encourage well-being and self-care
Every human being needs a self-care toolkit. Let me explain why tea rituals are such an essential part of mine.
Making time for a tea ritual helps you to set your level of awareness and shift your consciousness during the day. You may do this once or several times across the day (for example, in the morning when you wake up, tea breaks at work or before picking up the kids, in the evenings before bed, etc.)
The time spent in the tea ritual is more than just pouring and drinking a drink. It gives you time to connect mindfully with yourself and your surroundings. It helps you to release tension and pent up emotions.
Think through the steps that you take while making tea, and give significance and thought to each step. For example, think of the kettle boiling away your frustrations, of drinking in nature’s gift which has been revealed to you by adding water, considering your connection with the people who grew and harvested the tea, and so on.
Use this time to slow down and prioritise yourself, to create memories and meaning for better appreciation. You could use a special cup or teaware that was a gift from someone you think about, you could use this time to remember that person or use the ritual to connect another shared moment over tea in your past.
How to set up a tea ritual
1. Collect together tea wares that are meaningful to you.
This may include pieces that reflect your cultural history, or the traditional methods of celebrating tea in ancient cultures such as Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Indian or British.
You may have heirlooms passed down through the family, you could search through antique stores for the perfect pre-loved pieces, or you could buy new ones that really connect with you. They didn’t have to come to you in a special way for you to make them special, this is part of the ritual.
2. Choose the right time
Choose a time, or identify a number of times across the day when you think the ritual would be most beneficial. Focus on the moment and be able to set your intention and achieve the outcome you want from the ritual.
You may, for example choose a tea ritual in the morning to kick-start the day with energetic intention, or take tea in the afternoon for a breather or boost in motivation, or in the evening to wind down and take stock of the day.
3. Choose the right tea for your intention.
There are many different kinds of tea – you may find that caffeinated ones work better for morning or afternoon, while you might choose a lower caffeinated tea (such as the Japanese hojicha) or even a herbal tisane (such as chamomile or peppermint) for evening.
Choose good quality tea and use leaves. The multiple steps in preparing tea from loose leaves lend themselves to a better tea ritual.
Measure them out and let them steep. Pour from a pot into a special cup. Sit down, hold the cup in both hands and be completely present in this moment.
3. Be flexible
While there are constants and regularity in rituals, nothing has to be set in stone. Don’t beat yourself up if things are a bit messy or not structured, if you have to skip a tea ritual or shift it to fit in with a changing schedule.
Remember the point of this is to check in with yourself, not give you more things to try to accomplish. Don’t be too attached to your rituals and go with the flow.
Some tips to turbo-charge your tea ritual
Your tea ritual is meaningful to you and can be as unique, personal and powerful as you want to make it. Some people have no trouble finding mindfulness in a tea ritual in a crowded staff room or a noisy park, while others need silence and focus to get the full effect.
Some things you could add to help you get the full benefit from your tea ritual include:
- Music (soothing, meditative type)
- Scent (incense, essential oils…)
- Light (natural light, soft lighting from candles/lamps)
- Have a particular comfortable seat or cushion that you sit on
- Look out on a particular view
Finding calm and presence through tea rituals: final thoughts
It needn’t take a big chunk out of your day, but establishing the time for a daily tea ritual can give you so much back.
If we continually put off taking breaks and giving ourselves rewards then we will burn out trying to get to them. Studies show that small, regular moments of self-care and celebration carry a much greater effect than big moments like important celebrations or annual holidays.
A daily tea ritual is a reminder that you are worthy. It is a reminder to slow down and connect with yourself, to process your thoughts and feelings before they get a chance to spin out of control. It is an indulgence and a reward that costs little and yet provides so much.
Give it a try today and let me know how it goes in the comments section below!
Happy tea drinking!