Like many of you, my social calendar has slowed down to a crawl as I navigate the new spikes in the COVID-19 pandemic. While that translates to more free time to relax, you might think a cup of healthy green tea first thing in the morning is not that essential, yet for me, it’s more vital than ever.
Morning tea has been not only a tradition, but practically a spiritual experience ever since I first experienced it trekking in Nepal in 1998. Hot tea and the Himalayan mountains go together quite well. It also fits quite perfectly into a pandemic.
In some ways my days are easier – I’m not packing and unpacking for trips from one city to another. I’m not overcommitted with friends, family, art events or performing arts.
But there are ways my days are harder. I’m an extrovert, so while I’m blessed to be living out the COVID-19 pandemic with the man I’ve been married to for 30 years (Yes, they were consecutive and No, I didn’t get any time off for good behavior), I thrive on interactions with others.
Of course, I’m making the most of the situation thanks to FaceTime and Zoom. I get to see and play games with friends, watch my nephew’s first child learn to walk and have even been on a couple of virtual art gallery and home tours.
But let’s get real… when we’re semi-locked down, hiding from severe COVID-19 spikes, increased ICU admissions and rising positivity rates, there’s only so much we can talk about with friends and family – the weather, favorite recipes and if we dare, how our respective mayors, governors and president are performing through this pandemic.
One promise I’ve made to myself during these challenging times is to choose happiness and that’s what makes my first cup of tea so important. That cup of green tea (laced with lime and honey) is when I set my intentions for the day. I try to elevate the tea ritual the way Thich Nhat Hanh advises, “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves.” Once I’m set for the day I’m ready for just about anything, no matter what minor (or major) inconvenience or surreal news story tries to mess up my day.
Starting the day happy with a tea ritual has saved me countless times for more than 20 years, so I’m not surprised it’s helping me through the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe we’ll raise a cup together (if you’re up well before dawn).
Stay tough and be happy my friends,
Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD
P.S. Comment and share the rituals that are helping you through COVID-19 pandemic.