The holidays are a time of heightened activity. It’s time to enjoy the company of family and friends and to make memories together. However, the holiday season can be overwhelming.
One of the ways to unwind after all of the hectic pace of the season is to put tea time at the top of the list of New Year’s resolutions. Taking the time for self-care is one of the most important resolutions you can make. Giving yourself the daily gift of tea can provide a delicious way to relax and can assist in reducing chronic stress in a way that nothing else has the ability to do.
Whether you are seeking space to breathe after the fast pace of the holidays or facing challenges with family or job stressors, herbal tea is an excellent way to unwind at any time. Being able to relax and recharge is especially important over the winter months when colds and flu are most prevalent.
Relaxing With Tea
Since its discovery in Ancient China, the art of tea drinking has had a relaxing, almost ritual-like quality to it. Throughout Asia, the Middle East and in the West, there are traditions and ceremonies surrounding the preparation and consumption of tea. The Japanese custom of the tea ceremony is legendary and is known for its beautiful formality. The attention to detail of not just the tea itself, but also to the water, the fire or heat applied and how long the tea is allowed to infuse within the water provides an opportunity to slow down and focus.
Tea Traditions for Relaxation
The routines used to perform certain tasks are in essence, a kind of ritual. Most rituals have a specific set of tools which are used to perform them, and tea rituals are no different. Some prefer a very simple ritual of having a special cup to drink their morning tea. Some tools to help you enjoy the tea making process include tea accessories like teapots and infusers.
No matter if you choose to take tea with loose, bagged or pre-brewed teas, establishing the daily ritual of tea, you could find yourself becoming a real tea connoisseur. You may find that you prefer the subtle richness of Oolong tea or the healthy elements of green tea which is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients to potentially protect against illness and disease.
Other Relaxing Tea Rituals for the New Year
Tea is an excellent drink that has a long history of health benefits. The tea habit can transform that time and your home into a sanctuary where jangled nerves can be soothed and calm can be restored. When you get rid of stress and relax, naturally you will feel better and look better, too!
An added benefit to making tea a habit in the New Year is that after enjoying it in your cup, there are scores of other ways to reuse tea leaves that can further help you to relax and remove stress. Here are some ways you can use and reuse tea as a natural way to de-stress.
- You can make green tea a part of your regular at-home spa treatment by saving the contents of the tea bags even after you’ve used them! Take the contents of two or more tea bags and put them in a muslin bag. Place under the faucet as you draw the water so that it infuses again, right in your bath. The steam from the tea-infused bath water will help to relax you, open your pores to remove the toxins and impurities from your skin.
- Because of tea’s antioxidant properties, it provides a natural way to retain your skin’s elasticity which can prevent premature aging. Recent studies have shown that green tea provides natural rejuvenation and can help to heal minor skin diseases and injuries. Reuse the contents of two tea bags by emptying the bags into a bowl. Add the juice of 1 half of a lemon and two tablespoons of honey to the tea leaves. Mix, then apply to the skin, leaving it on for approximately 10 minutes for a sweet and soothing mask. Rinse your skin and pat dry.
- You can reuse black or green tea bags to add shine and revitalize hair that may be suffering from your holiday stress. Simply re-brew 3 – 4 tea bags and allow this to cool to room temperature. Wash your hair with your favorite shampoo, and then use the infusion from the tea bags to rinse your hair. Allow your hair to air dry.
- Hectic schedules, lack of sleep and overall stresses from every direction can leave you susceptible to fatigue and even infection. Tea provides natural nutrients and antioxidants both inside and out. Once you have steeped your cup of tea for the desired amount of time, you can take the used bag and apply them to your eyes to help provide relaxation. If you are suffering from pinkeye, a sty, canker sores, or other minor infections of the skin, the tannins in the tea can help to alleviate pain and the antioxidants can help to draw out the infection.
- Make it a regular practice to apply the tea bag you have just used to your face as a part of your beauty routine. Squeeze out the excess moisture from the tea bag then immediately apply it to your skin. This removes dirt and impurities from your pores. The catechins within the tea are naturally antimicrobial and can prevent acne-causing bacteria from gaining a foothold which can result in blemishes. The tea also helps to tighten pores and further prevents acne so you look and feel wonderful!
As you can see, there are almost endless ways to use tea to help relax and revitalize you. What better time to start incorporating these healthful habits than after the holiday rush?
When you partake of the ritual of enjoying a cup of tea, you are connecting to every aspect that makes up the tea – from the natural elements of the water and heat, to the land where it was grown and harvested to the many centuries of history that tea has been a tradition around the world. Once you get started you will see all of the reasons why tea is the most popular and most consumed beverage on earth.
“The Way of Tea” by Master Lam Kam Chuyen, Lam Kai Sin and Lam Tin Yu, 2002, Barron’s Educational Series, NY
“The Everything Healthy Tea Book: Discover the Healing Benefits of Tea” by Babette Donaldson, 2014, Everything Publishing, New York, NY
“The Tea Book” by Linda Gaylord, 2015, DK Books, London
“The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide” by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss. . 2007, Ten Speed Press, Berkley, CA
“The Book of Green Tea” by Diana Rosen, 1994, Storey Books, Pownal, VT