Recently a study showed that during COVID-19 women are taking on even more responsibilities at home and spending more time at work, https://leanin.org/article/womens-workload-and-burnout. If you’re feeling a little (or a lot) overwhelmed you are not alone. Are you giving yourself a few minutes a day or even a week to recharge yourself?
For my recharging I choose to be outside, alone with a mug of tea, usually chai. I was introduced to it back in the early nineties and my host made it himself and served it with a tin of Danish cookies. I was and am still hooked. He had a little pot on his stove and it took just a few minutes to put it together. I never thought of making tea from scratch. I had always loved the ritual of making a pot of tea but making chai is on a whole other level - there is a process... There are a gjillion recipes out there, but of course I think the one I use below is the best. I make the tea mixture, (I don’t use fresh ginger or cinnamon sticks), and then put it in a tea bag. That way I just get the flavor and not the graininess from the spices. The brown sugar really does make a difference.
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 10 whole cloves
- 6 cardamom pods
- 6 cups cold water
- 6 bags of black tea (preferably Darjeeling)
- 2 cups whole milk
- Combine first 5 ingredients in medium saucepan. Using mallet or back of large spoon, lightly crush or bruise spices. Add 6 cups water; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pan, and simmer gently 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add milk and sugar. Bring tea just to simmer over high heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Strain chai into teapot and serve hot.
But here’s this...”dona chai” https://drinkdona.com, is a delicious concentrate, and allIll I have to do is add is it to my hot milk. If I’m short on time, I have no guilt in taking the short route. I have no affiliation with dona chai. Just sayin’.
Right now in Ohio the weather is perfect. I love this weather. Cool in the mornings/evenings and warm and sunny during the days, that’s my jam! The cool weather in this little window between late summer early fall energizes me. I want to have a warm cup of something in my hands first thing in the mornings while I’m lighting candles and planning my day. Then I’m off and running, baking, planting, sewing (lots of sewing) and maybe a little light construction on our recently purchased fixer-upper. If it’s the weekend and it’s not raining I’m outside. For example this past weekend I made bread and pound cake , we talked to our neighbor Butch over the fence, who was absolutely adorable in his flannel and overalls, tossed the ring, went on a walk with my girlfriend Lisa, played on the trampoline, stalked my favorite house which is down the road from me, (remember this, there will be a test, we call her Jenny-on-the-block)(because her name is Jenny and she lives...wait for it..on the block) I started the top of a dining room table, tried to sew silk face masks, then danced naked at midnight around the fire of the failed attempts of the aforementioned silk masks. For the sake of brevity I left a lot out but my point is that I did a lot in 2 days. But for about 30 glorious minutes, I sat in a wonky wicker chair on my patio and had a whole pot of chai, and lovely slice of pound cake, all by myself. The point is with everything that I did or didn’t get done, I made time for myself. WE HAVE TO.
Here’s the thing. I needed a minute by myself. Which I do realize and appreciate that it didn’t have to be in the bathroom or closet, which by the way NEVER EVER EVER seemed to dissuade my child from bugging I mean finding me. Someone else made it, it was delicious, saved me time, put money in someone else’s pocket, and I got to have a delicious moment. Alone. I used the teapot that was found in the upstairs of an old hardware store, a bone China tea cup and saucer that didn’t match, and a lovely cloth napkin, (I have gjillions). I set up my little table, grabbed my book and a magazine, (read the magazine, never touched the book) and I told my child to go read. AND SHE DID! Jeff was at his desk and there was peace in the kingdom.
All of this is to say, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. It doesn’t have to be involved. It doesn’t have to be for 30 minutes. It just has to be. Just take whatever time you can squeeze/sneak in and do it. You deserve it and you need it.
I expect full reports and selfies of your downtime! I look forward to seeing them.
Written by N. Kelley Mendenhall 💋
#amywinehouse #giveyourselfsomecredit #donachai #warmcuppa #chai #taketimeforyourself