The Importance of Morning Tea…

I grew up in Australia and we always had a morning tea break. For me there was nothing nicer than a steaming cup of tea and some kind of pastry treat. It didn’t matter how hot the temperature was outside, breaking for tea was refreshing.  You’d even see work crews at the roadside taking a break, pouring their hot drink from a thermos, but they called their break smoko. ;  ) There are of course many poems and ballads that include our traditional morning tea: Waltzing Matilda even speaks of waiting and watching as the billy boiled. The billy was the tin can that heated the water over an open fire. tea cup and saucer 1188

Anyway, morning tea is a habit I’ve gotten out of since living in the U.S. Our lives have become so busy that many times the mid-morning break is not taken at all. Or it’s a cup of coffee taken at the desk while we continue to work. Because I work from home, I’m out of touch with what goes on in the workplace today. How is it where you work? Does it seem like an indulgence to break for fifteen minutes?

When I was young (back before the wheel, or so my kids tell me) morning tea was taken no matter where you worked; a lovely tradition and a necessary one in the hurried workplace. Fifteen minutes to hang out in the break room, talk with co-workers, refresh relationships, and replenish the body’s need for sustenance and energy. And that could come in the form of a scone, a slice of date and walnut loaf smothered with butter, a vanilla slice (my personal favorite) or just a plain old store bought bickie. A bickie is of course a biscuit but not like a Southern biscuit, it is a cookie to you Americans. : )

chocolate chip cookie with a bite out

I thought about all of this last week when I heard myself complaining to a friend about my lower back and how much time I spent in the office chair. Sure I drink water so that I’m forced to get up and walk down the hall to the loo. And I put in a load of wash and get up when the buzzer goes off for the third time, but it isn’t the same. I’m not taking care of my true needs.

So, I’m re-instituting the full lunch break and morning and afternoon tea breaks into my work day. If mine was a salaried position, my employer would by law be required to provide breaks. I’m self-employed. It’s up to me to take care of my best employee.

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26 Responses to The Importance of Morning Tea…

  1. Marilyn Puett says:

    Oh my goodness yes! I am a tea lover. I’m Southern, so I drink my share of it iced with lemon. But I also have quite a selection of teas to drink hot. I usually have a cup first thing in the morning with plenty of sugar and milk. I keep tea bags in my desk drawer at work so I can have an afternoon cup too. So glad to see you blogging about this oh so important beverage. And speaking of work, I’d better get out of my jammies and into my work clothes so I can head to the office in a bit.

  2. robena grant says:

    Hi, Marilyn. Good to see you here. Hope everything is going well for you, I know you’ve had some more shorts published. Yes, tea is a wonderful beverage. I see you drink yours the English way…with milk. I’m a no sugar black tea drinker. : )

  3. Roz Lee says:

    So true, Robena! Like you, I take breaks that get me away from the computer, but not away from work. They may even add up to more than the required fifteen minutes per four hours of work, but do they really when I’m emptying the dishwasher or changing out the laundry? I do try to take a lunch break – completely away from the computer. It’s rarely a full hour, but a few days a week I give myself permission to watch a show I’ve DVR’d while I much a sandwich. And I typically work more than 8 hours a day and certainly more than 40 hrs a week, especially if you consider my ‘other’ jobs – wife, cook, house cleaner, errand runner, dog walker, personal shopper,etc.
    I love a good cup of tea, and begin my morning with one, and sometimes squeeze in a few more cups during the day. My favorite is Twinings Prince of Wales. What’s yours?

    • robena grant says:

      I know, Roz. We can be our own worst enemy when we work for ourselves. And there is no such thing as overtime pay. ; 0

      BTW, I’m a quarter of the way in on Lost Melody (that’s by Dolores W. Maroney for anyone looking for a good contemporary read) and loving it. Congratulations!

  4. Janie Emaus says:

    So true. On the days when I get to stay home and write all day, I oftentimes forget to eat. But right now I’m at one of jobs, eating a bagel, sipping coffee and writing to you. What better way to take a break!

  5. Hey I’m all for a good cup of tea. Must have one first thing in the morning or the day hasn’t begun. I like a mid-morning break and that often means another cup of tea and a snack. Orange Pekoe or Earl Grey are usually my picks. And I take milk and sugar – very British like. 🙂
    Working from home can mean we neglect the basic ’employee’ rules but I love it and wouldn’t change a thing. Hmm, time to put the kettle on!

    • robena grant says:

      I’m also a lover of Earl Grey. Although lately I’ve been drinking a nice mint tea from Trader Joe’s, and I always have green tea on hand. Last year, my friend Lynne Marshall gave me some fabulous tea from Sth Carolina. But I used it all. : (

  6. I’m absolutely with you on this, Robena. We need to sever ourselves from out computers throughout the day, and what better way than with a coffee break.

    I take more than just a coffee break in the afternoon. I leave my house and go to one or another of my local starbucks and get a skinny vanilla latte – And though I’d love nothing more than to have a slice of sweet loaf of the day – I try to only indulge in that drink. Some days, that’s the only contact I have with the outside world (besides cyber contacts). Kind of sad, isn’t it?

    Enjoy your tea!

    • robena grant says:

      Hah! I was just writing about you and you were writing to me. Synchronicity! : ) I did love that tea you gave me.

      I enjoy my coffee but I’m not big on going out for it, although I do have a friend who will drive to my house and sit in her car outside my office window and call me on her cell and insist we go to Starbucks. Ha ha. I love my friends.

  7. Dee J. says:

    Is it cheating if my tea is a chai latte? (Lynne and I have that in common. ) Man, oh man, I could live off those. And they are so bad!! Still, I love ’em and they give me a lift when I need one. I should take breaks and I don’t. I should also definitely follow your lead.

    • robena grant says:

      Tea…any way you like it, Dee J.
      And yes, definitely follow my lead and I’ll lead you up the garden path and help you waste an afternoon. ; )

  8. Thea says:

    When we travel in Australia, we are astonished: breakfast, morning tea with pastry, lunch, afternoon tea with pastry, dinner! Those N Zedders do this too. Lovely tea, of course. And that tea from South Carolina? If it’s grown there, it comes from the only tea plantation in the U.S.

  9. robena grant says:

    I know. Me too, Thea. I go home and my sisters are slimmer than me and then I watch them devour all of the yummy things I never allow in my house and I wonder why that is. : 0

    And yes, I do remember Lynne telling me that as she had taken a tour of the tea plantation. Drat. Now I want some of that tea.

  10. Sam Beck says:

    I had two cups of tea today, but, sadly, no bickies. Worse, I sucked the tea down while sitting at my computer. Tomorrow I will institute the a “real” break, and I bet I’ll be all the more productive for it. Thanks for reminding me about the importance of morning tea.

    • robena grant says:

      It does make a difference just to take a break in a different room. Now that the weather is fine I have to remind myself to make a salad for lunch and eat it outside on the patio.
      Some years ago I used to write outside, on my laptop. That was nice but I got out of the habit. Hmmmm.

  11. Julie says:

    Self Care! In any form you can manage it. I love the idea of you taking care of your best employee. And you know how I feel about treats and tea!

    Great post. But I somehow missed the last one. Wrote down the authour and title, with a notation “recommended by Robena.” So I’ll KNOW it’s a good one when I go to the library searching.

  12. I work 4 days for 5 hours and then 1 day for 8 hours. On the 5 hour days I look forward to my fifteen minute break half way through the shift. It’s so irritating that when I get up and go to the break room, the tv is on. It is on all the time and no one has any idea who controls the channels because we don’t have access to it. But it is never, never anything I want to watch and it is usually unpleasant, cnn, fox news, dateline, creepy crime stuff. I so resent that I can’t go to the break room and relax. Weather permitting I go outside instead but more often than not that can’t happen.

    • robena grant says:

      Ugh! Judy. That would drive me batty. I have to be pedaling away on the bike to watch TV during the day time. I hope you can at least change the volume. ; )

  13. Hi Robena! I often forget to take breaks, too. Or my breaks are me drinking/eating in front of my computer. So yeah, not really a break. With the weather getting nicer, though, I’ve told myself I need to sit outside with my coffee or take a walk to Starbucks and enjoy some time away from a computer screen. A little time to clear my head and enjoy my other surroundings really does make a difference when I do return to writing.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    • robena grant says:

      Yes. I think when weather permits that’s the best possible break…getting outdoors. Outdoors at Starbucks is about the best you can get. : )

  14. Ilona Fridl says:

    I don’t know how many do, but there are some Americans that take tea breaks. Although, in the summer, it’s usually iced tea. I love making sun tea!

    • robena grant says:

      Hi, Ilona. Thanks for stopping by. My American-born daughter loves sun tea, and iced tea. I never quite acquired a taste for it. But, yes, I think the emphasis should be on break…even if it’s to sip a glass of water.

  15. Nancy says:

    Ahhh I love my tea and the tea break. But whatever you drink we all need to take our breaks and walk away from the computer/desk/workspace and bring our minds to the business of real life.