One of the most difficult feats in any kind of job is having to deal with upsetting personal issues while still maintaining your cool and composure at work. We all have days when we just need to be left alone, but, of course, those are always the times when others choose to test your limits and push your buttons extra hard. When it comes to work, everyone says, “leave your issues at the door,” but how exactly is that possible? What is this magic switch that people have that I’m obviously lacking? Sometimes harsh words just slip out, and there’s no taking them back. It’s not intentional, it’s not personal, but it’s hurtful nonetheless.

stacked cupsAlthough we have a right to our emotions and to coping with them on our terms and in our own time, we also have a responsibility to not unfairly attack others. For the sake of maintaining a peaceful work environment and completing necessary tasks, this particular author still needs a lesson in graciousness. Problems come and go, but the people in our lives deserve to be treated with at least the same amount of respect that they extend to us.

Alright, so where does tea fit into all this? Only last year did I begin drinking it on a regular basis, and ever since, it’s become the very first thing I reach for when I’m feeling tense, upset, or downright angry. How exactly did I cope with issues before tea? Did I just stew and mope and wait for things to calm down? I honestly don’t remember, but I’m definitely grateful for the comfort that I’ve discovered in the form of a teacup. It’s just enough to bring down my anxiety-spiked heart beat, and just the consolation I need when feeling remorseful for snapping at someone who didn’t deserve it.

Earlier this month, I was presented with a constant stream of not-so-great news, and I found it nearly impossible to go about my daily life…especially having to come into work and be the cheerful, positive Adela that everyone’s used to. So what’s a sad person supposed to do when work still demands an upbeat, can-do attitude? I found myself feeling very lost, drifting in and out of reality as I continued through the usual motions (but without full awareness or mindfulness), and the only temporary solution that came to mind was steeping some genmaicha. There’s really nothing as soothing as holding a warm cup of tea between my hands, pausing to take a deep breath, and just knowing that everything will be alright. Everything always works out. Everyone forgives everyone.

It’s all about that little pause–that little moment–that little gap in time that allows me to relax, re-focus, and re-ground myself. Of course, tea is not a panacea, but at least it lets me get away from life’s never-ending stressors, if only for a little while. At least I can return to reality feeling just a wee bit more mellow and hopeful. And at least I have a life to return to! Supportive friends, empathetic relatives, and forgiving coworkers…it’s good to know they’ll still be there when I take that final sip. Tea is good, but it’s only a means to an end. Alright, so I’m not sure what “the end” is exactly, but I do know it involves relationships, personal growth, and love…in all its heart-breaking, heart-shaping, heart-expanding forms.