by Annie Khabaza 


A third cup of oats
Two third cups of water
A third cup of yoghurt
Pecans, dried cranberries and a banana to finish

Step One – Wake up. It is barely after five and you can’t have slept for nearly enough time. Listen to the morning, only slightly, the sounds of others getting up around you, or even others sleeping whilst you grow more awake, or even just birds outside.

Step Two – This is the difficult part. It is here that you need to make a conscious decision to take care of yourself this morning. You don’t have to decide this immediately, and indeed you may find yourself unable to make this choice. Test yourself. Sit for a while and contemplate how you feel within yourself. Tempt – or possibly bribe – yourself with the prospect of hot tea and a nourishing breakfast. Trick yourself into taking care of yourself.

Step Three – Shower and get dressed. The house will feel like winter, no matter what the season – and if it is winter you may be able to see your breath as you stand in the kitchen. If you get dressed, and prepare for the day ahead, then you will be less inclined to slink your way back to bed and lie there all day, contemplating sadness and emptiness. More experienced cooks may at this point also pick out clothes that make then feel nice, put on makeup or apply nice skincare, or blow dry and style their hair. These are optional steps, only for those who feel capable.

“Tempt – or possibly bribe – yourself with the prospect of hot tea and a nourishing breakfast. Trick yourself into taking care of yourself.”

Step Four – Go downstairs. Stand in the kitchen, and take deep breaths. Boil the kettle and make a cup of tea. Measure out your ingredients, including the fresh ones. Measure out the yoghurt and peel the banana, and you’ve now made it past the point of no return. If you give up now, they’ll go to waste. Combine the oats and the water and set on a low heat in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally.

Step Five – Even deeper breaths now. While the porridge cooks, chop the pecans and stir them into the pot, along with the cranberries. Chop the banana. When the porridge looks like it’s slightly overcooked – thick, kind of gloopy, and all the liquid absorbed – add in the yogurt and stir, then take it off the heat and pour into a bowl. Top with the chopped banana.

Step Six – Eat the whole thing. Eat it slowly, taking care to enjoy it. Think about the day, and the possibility that it contains. Today could be a good day – or even just a functional, average one.

Step Seven – Put on shoes, grab your handbag. Walk out the door as fast as you can, and pace all the way to the bus stop. Don’t give yourself the chance to turn around.


Annie Khabaza | @cookintherain

Annie is a literature student who sometimes writes things, and often writes things when she should be studying instead. She also procrastinates by cooking, baking and taking long afternoon naps.

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