Life can get really chaotic and dreary, especially during times like these. Here are some things that may help you find some structure or inner peace.
1) Brew tea (or coffee) in a pot
Tea and coffee are awesome drinks, but brewing them in a teapot or french press is really therapeutic and can add some structure to your day! It also helps prevent your beverage from becoming too astringent or bitter.
I can’t speak much about the coffee-making process, but I can for tea. Find a personal-sized teapot that’s easy to wash and store, snip the teabag string off, throw it into the teapot strainer basket, add your water, and that’s it! Weighing out loose leaf tea can also add to the experience.
Borosilicate glass teapots are my go-to because you can really watch the tea steep and enjoy its colour, which can vary drastically depending on your choice of tea! Lifting the teapot to fill your cup is also fun.
Just give it a try, yeah?
2) Just sit and be for five minutes
Your workstation might not look as tidy or #aesthetic as this, but rest assured that your table situation isn’t part of this tip!
Choose a certain time of the day (morning/afternoon/night), whip out your smartwatch or phone, and set five minutes to just close your eyes and take deep breaths. Pay attention to the background noises like the hum of the air-conditioner or the birds outside, and relax any tense muscles. You’ll give both your eyes and mind a small break.
Studies have also suggested that taking wakeful rests can help with memory consolidation[i] too, so there’s certainly no harm in adding them to your day.
3) Read the news
For some of the older generation, the day never quite begins without scanning the newspaper from front to end.
While you may not have the time to do the same, you can still incorporate this into your morning routine. Give yourself a set amount of articles to read, maybe two to three, and choose the ones with the most appealing or intriguing headlines. You may find yourself reading more and more articles before you know it, but it’s never a bad thing to brush up on current affairs!
Here’s something important: you can’t avoid coming across bad news even if you try. Unsurprisingly, reading bad news affects your mood and state of mind[ii]—so try picking something positive to read to lift your spirits and balance things out.
4) Eat lunch at the same time everyday
It may be a bit hard to do this if you have online classes or tons of work to handle, but there’s good reason to try! You’ll feel at ease taking lunch hour off for yourself, and will be less likely to forget to eat.
There’re also scientific studies that suggest how sticking to meal schedules—this includes snack time and supper too by the way—may affect your blood pressure, BMI, and risk for obesity[iii].
You can go one step further, to increase your sense of routine, by preparing the meal yourself. A huge deterrent is the amount of washing that comes after, so I’ll like to share the wonders of microwave-mug meals and one-pot/saucepan meals. A lazy go-to for me is udon noodles tossed in Miso paste and a small dash of olive oil, with fresh mushrooms and vegetables. You just boil everything in the same pot depending on cook time. I eat this straight out of the saucepan for added convenience.
5) Incorporate small night-time rituals
Do little things before going to bed that’ll help your mind and body ease into rest, and know that it’s time to sleep. Other than washing up for the night, consider adding small indulgences like pillow mists (there are a few afforable ones out there), a cup of non-caffeinated tea, white noise or sleep playlists on Spotify, and audio book apps.
I use pillow mists daily and sleep playlists on occasion, and really cannot recommend them enough, but everyone’s different!
If all you need is a cool, dark and quiet room to shuffle off into lalaland, that’s great and I am envious. You can still incorporate other interesting activites, however: Benjamin Franklin asked himself two questions[iv] after he rose and in the evening that you can try. The questions are as follows:
- (After waking up) What good shall I do this day?
- (Before bed/in the evening) What good have I done today?
You can ask yourself other questions too, of course!
I hope these little suggestions will be of use to you, and would love to hear what you do in your own day. Do take care and stay safe!