A Recipe For Chai And A Hope For Better Days

It’s raining right now at noon and it feels like it is early morning. The house gets pretty dark when it rains like this so I have lit a candle, and switched on the lamp in the living room. I have been in depression for a while now. It comes and goes this thing; sometimes stays for a day or two and other times maybe a few weeks.

Living with a mental illness is EXHAUSTING. But with therapy and a little mindfulness, I have learnt little, sparkling ways to help me cope with these days…the time between bad and good. So if you too are dealing with depression, or going through a breakup, worried about an uncertain future, grieving over something irreplaceable or just feeling low because of the grey weather—I sadly don’t have big promises for you but I do have this simple recipe for chai, to wait out this time between here and better days.

Also Read: The Answer Is In The Attempt: Living With Mental Illness

You will need:

Water ― Here is where it starts; the hardest part. Get off your bed, chair or couch and run your fingers through your hair, or open your arms and stretch; feel the texture of your hair, the cracks of your joints. Wash your face with cold water and wipe it dry; make sure you are here in the ‘now’. Pour fresh water in a pot, filling it halfway and let it slowly boil at medium flame on the stove. Now while the water boils, feel the heaviness in your chest and body. It’s hard to breathe isn’t it? Don’t try just yet; there is no rush to turn the day around. Take deep breaths and collect your thoughts. Say to yourself, ‘This f*ing sucks. I HATE everything!’ if you feel that way. The water would be boiling by now.

Spices ― I love some spice in my chai, usually a slice of ginger and one open cardamom. I think it’s such a perfect mélange of aromas and taste. Oftentimes that zing is necessary you know, in chai and life. You have to confront your emotions; let that zing diminish your numbness. What do you exactly feel right now? Do you feel heartbroken, scared, alone, hopeless; do you feel like falling to the floor and crying? Acknowledge exactly what you’re feeling, be dramatic if you need to ― burn photographs, cry, drop the F-bombs aloud. You will find, that the sharp ginger would then turn into a strange sweetness, after swimming in that boiling pot of water.

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Tea leaves ― Two teaspoons of aromatic Assam tea leaves is what I like to put in my chai. Calm down; breathe. Watch how the water becomes a sunset—light yellow, to an orange and then coral. Yes, the world is overwhelming, the future is uncertain, you are hurting so, so much and still, the tea right here is beautiful… and the kitchen now, smells like home. Try to blink away your thoughts for just now, and exist in this little moment here. Imagine a vast, dark, sparkly universe, and then a blue earth; imagine Egypt, Australia and Japan. Now think of all the people walking around, your country, state, town, all the people in all the apartments in your building and now, see yourself as a third person, standing in your kitchen making tea. Meditate to the sizzle of the bubbling tea in the pot.

Milk ― After a few minutes bring your cold milk out. We are almost there! I am not saying that things will get instantly better; we both know that is not realistic. These things tend to take time and I hope you understand that it needs to. But hey, look how the tea swirls as you pour the milk into it. It’s not dark anymore or completely light either. It’s a colour in-between, where it should be. That’s where you are right now. This is where you need to be ―smelling of strong tea, with a hint of spice.

Sugar ― Strain your chai into a favourite mug and now all you need is your jar of sugar and a spoon. Add as much or as little as you like. The most important part right now, is for you to be there for yourself and treat your heart with kindness. Ugh, sometimes situations are crazy difficult and everything feels sad, meaningless and doomed, as if nothing ever will get better. But the thing to remind yourself here is that it does get better, it always has, hasn’t it? I know it’s hard to exist with a heavy heart but you will be surprised how little things can make a difference…like the sugar in your chai!

Notice where you are now―here with a nice cup of chai that you made yourself, or hopeful enough to read this piece of writing on the internet. You’re already making progress! Better days are not far away, dear reader!

Also Read: Self-Care, Mental Health And Feminist Warriors

Featured Image Credit: from Sadi_M via flickr

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