Drink in the day

Savour the benefits of taking your tea break outdoors

Illustration: Sirin Thada
Words: Chloe Rhodes

Whether it’s an English Breakfast, a turmeric infusion or a flat white, the ritual of making a hot drink is part of most people’s daily routine. And drinking it can easily become a perfunctory step in the auto-piloted process. You might sip your tea while getting dressed or hunting for your car keys. Perhaps, at work, you take your coffee to your desk or sit in an airless staff kitchen until it’s cool enough to be knocked back in three swift gulps.

Why is going outside for a tea break good for you?

But if you’re ever able to make more of your daily beverage breaks, why not try taking them outside? Rain or shine, fresh air does all kinds of good things for body and soul, even if you’re just perching on a doorstep clutching a mug. It increases oxygen levels in the blood, which helps with memory function, focus and energy. And, if it’s a bright day, you’ll also benefit from the sunlight, which boosts the production of the sleep- and mood-enhancing hormone serotonin, as well as providing a good dose of immune-system-supporting vitamin D. Of course, you don’t strictly need the cuppa to reap any of these open-air benefits, but research shows that piggy-backing an activity you’d like to do more of onto a pre-existing habit often helps the new behaviour to stick (see Breathe, issue 59).

Make time for yourself

All other benefits aside, taking your cuppa outside truly puts the ‘break’ in ‘tea break’. It forces you to step away from the to-do list and connect with your senses and surroundings: the cool, fresh air in your lungs, the steaming mug warming your hands, the colour of the sky or the distant sound of a rumbling train. Perhaps, over time, you’ll come to see this al-fresco five minutes as valuable time to tune into yourself, and every cup will taste like freedom.

You can read more articles about mindfulness in the latest issue of Breathe magazine.