4 Teas To Help You Stay Cheerful
2020, am I right? Each month provided us all with something new and exciting (though perhaps not in the best way possible). In all seriousness, it’s was a stressful year, and sometimes even the best of us had a hard time staying cheerful, not to mention the onset of winter, where SAD (or Seasonal Affective Disorder) can rear its ugly head.
Even in the best of times, it can be a challenge keeping our spirits up during the long, cold winter months. However, navigating these times and seasons can be a less nerve-wracking experience. Try some of these teas and let them soothe some of your worries and cheer you up.
Even just sipping on chamomile can calm the nerves and relax the mind. One of the most popular herbal teas, chamomile has been used for centuries as a home remedy for a variety of ailments. While known for calming an upset digestive system (which can also be linked to nerves and anxiety), Chamomile’s other major benefit is its relaxing qualities. It’s a mild sedative, helping to promote sleep and provide relief to nagging insomnia. It has a soothing effect on the mind and can naturally relieve anxiety and nervousness.
Chamomile is enjoyed both by itself or in blends with other relaxing herbal teas such as peppermint and lavender. If battling a winter cold, a touch of honey can do double duty in battling nerves and a cough.
How to prepare: Steep 2 teaspoons of chamomile tea per cup in boiling water for around 5-10 minutes. Add honey if desired.
The only true tea on this list (since it’s the only one that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant), green tea has risen to prominence for its health benefits and antioxidants. Like other true teas, green tea contains caffeine, which can heighten awareness and give you a jolt of energy during the day. Though it is advised to avoid caffeine when battling stress and anxiety, green tea is low enough in caffeine that it won’t worsen irritability or nervousness.
Green tea is also packed with the amino acid L-Theanine, which is known to have a relaxing quality as well as reduce stress, fight depression, and relieve anxiety. According to a study at Kumamoto University, even the powdered green tea matcha, which is typically higher in caffeine than most green teas, can help reduce anxiety by activating certain receptors in the brain.
When selecting a green tea, the two main categories on the market are Chinese and Japanese green teas. Japanese green teas have a grassy flavor and, in general, are higher in caffeine but have more nutrients. Chinese green teas are lower in caffeine, have a milder flavor than Japanese green teas (being described as nutty and warm), and are also more accessible. Try both and find one you like.
How to prepare: For most green teas, steep one teaspoon of green tea per cup in 175°F water for around 2-3 minutes. Some green teas may only require one minute of steeping, and some delicate green teas (such as gyokuro) may require cooler water to steep properly.
Feeling a little on edge and love the fresh scent of lemon but not the sour taste of lemons? Lemongrass may be the herbal tea to relax you after a tough day with its sweet, lemony aroma and flavor. Sitting down to a nice, hot cup of lemongrass can calm the mind, lower stress, and even settle a nervous stomach. Additionally, it’s a source of Vitamin C, which can aid in anxiety relief, and it’s a great tea to have right before bed to naturally lull you to sleep.
How to prepare: Steep one teaspoon of lemongrass per cup in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
A popular flavor for candy and other sweet treats is also a great tea! Cool, calm, and collected, peppermint tea can both boost mental alertness as well as relax the body and mind. It’s a natural muscle relaxant and pain reliever, providing relief to tension headaches as well as other aches and pains. It can even help reduce fatigue, anxiety, and frustration, and who doesn’t feel all three during those long winter months? And since peppermint tea doesn’t contain caffeine (which can increase anxiety), it’s also a great alternative to true tea or coffee for staying mentally alert.
Peppermint tea is great on its own or in a blend with other herbal teas (chamomile and peppermint being a popular blend). It also works well with many other additional flavors!
How to prepare: Steep two teaspoons of peppermint tea per cup in boiling water for around 5-10 minutes.