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Morning Coffee is My Most Sacred Mental Health Ritual

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

No matter how early I actually need to wake up in the morning, I will set my alarm for an hour earlier. This hour is reserved strictly for coffee time. 

Ask anyone — if I don’t get my morning coffee, it throws the rest of my day into a funk. Not because I need the caffeine or energy boost, or because I’ll get a headache without it, but because my morning coffee time is integral to my mental health. 

Coffee time is reserved for self-care before the craziness of the day begins. It’s the only time I don’t worry about assignments, tests, meetings, friend drama or the million things that need to get done. I won’t let myself feel guilty for not “being productive” because I’ve realized it’s some of the most valuable time spent in my day. Especially at a place like UCLA, productivity has come to exclusively mean checking boxes, accomplishing tasks, working a job and doing schoolwork. 

Let’s rework that definition a little bit.

Just as important as academics, business or career-based tenets, productivity needs to include mental health. If we’re not productively looking after our mental well-being, it’s impossible for us to put our best selves into other aspects of our lives.

For me, I know that being productive means waking up a little earlier every morning, opening my curtains to let the morning light in, filling my French press and taking care of my plants while my coffee brews. I sit criss-cross applesauce (yes, that part is critical), close my eyes and take a few deep breaths, letting the sunshine slowly warm my skin.

My wellness from this ritual comes not only by means of the act itself, but also from the little bit of routine it provides for my otherwise hectic life. I have always been a planner, but moving to college has understandably come with a lot more day-to-day uncertainty. Classes, clubs, jobs and a social life is a lot to juggle all at once. I definitely still struggle to cope with this at times, but I know that a consistent morning routine makes a huge difference in my overall happiness.

Throughout my first year in college, I didn’t quite neglect my morning coffee time, but I also know that I didn’t make it the priority it needed to be. I multitasked, rushed, sat with all the curtains closed in darkness and did schoolwork during what should’ve been a peaceful, sacred time. Although it may sound trivial, this lack of attention to my morning coffee greatly affected me emotionally for parts of my freshman year. However, by recognizing this and shifting my routine to better honor my mental health, I’ve struck a balance between schedule and spontaneity. So when you feel overwhelmed, anxious or on the brink of drowning, remember to find that middle ground and respect the sanctity of your version of morning coffee time.

Ciara is a third year UCLA student from Oakland, CA who is majoring in Public Health. She loves to travel and explore new places; especially when there's any kind of ocean involved. When she's not busy workshopping her next Her Campus article, you can find Ciara sipping her morning coffee somewhere sunny, relaxing in her hammock, or chasing a sunset.