• Wellbeing for Educators and Leaders in Learning

Coffee: taking a moment to pause

I bet most of you drink coffee. For many of us it feels like our fuel: perhaps you can’t function in the morning until you’ve had it; maybe you’ve been up in the middle of the night with young children and it helped you through the small hours; or it could be that your days are packed full, you’re in a really busy job, and you feel like you can’t stop and rest for longer than the time it takes for the kettle to boil. Often that’s been me too, as a primary school teacher, now as a Headteacher, and also as a parent.

But recently there’s been a healthy shift in my coffee-drinking habits. For Christmas my wife bought me a milk frother, and from that moment on my coffees (and hers!) have tasted much more luxurious. And for my birthday, my colleagues bought me a V60 coffee dripper, meaning I can also have delicious filter coffee! And let me tell you, the combination of the two is exquisite. As I’m sure you can imagine, my coffee moments at home became something to savour, transformed from an essential task to stave off exhaustion into a special, enjoyable moment.

Waiting for the coffee to filter isn’t something you can rush, so it takes a little longer; neither can I make the milk froth faster. And when you’ve made coffee that good, it’s essential that you take a few minutes to savour it. Before I knew it, I’d created a small chunk of time where I could step outside the busyness of my day to day experience and just pause for a little while: to reflect, to think, or just to breathe. When I make time for this, it reduces my stress levels, helps me calm, and leaves me feeling a little refreshed: I’m then better equipped to face what the rest of the day brings, and it helps me be a more pleasant person to be around.

So, next time you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, walking to your bus stop, or standing in a queue, think how you can make the most of that opportunity to take a deep breath in, and a longer breath out. How different would our days be if we defined them by how many special moments we created, rather than how many tasks we completed? Changing your mindset - and changing your coffee! - will make a huge difference to how you feel at its end.

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