If you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like tea. Not as much as I love chocolate, but it’s definitely a close second.
It’s not just the tea itself I enjoy, but the ritual: filling the kettle, choosing the mug, smelling the loose tea leaves, taking some time to meditate as I wait for them to steep. No matter what I have going on in the day, I always make room for that little slice of calm.
In addition to the nice break that preparing and drinking tea requires, there are also specific teas that can reduce our stress even more. Do you spot any of your favorites on the list below?
Peppermint tea: the menthol in peppermint tea is a natural muscle relaxant and when we’re stressed our muscles will always be more tense. A word of caution for women in their first trimester of pregnancy or breastfeeding—this isn’t the best choice for you as it can cause your uterine muscles to relax and decrease your milk supply.
Chamomile tea: reduces stress and anxiety and helps with insomnia. Like peppermint tea, it relaxes our muscles and reduces irritability making it a great choice for those last few days of the luteal phase.
Lemon balm tea: also known as Melissa, it reduces anxiety levels 1-3 hours after consumption. It’s also been shown to lower cortisol levels and reduce pain associated with headaches and menstrual cramps.
Valerian tea: this one’s been around since the 4th century when Hippocrates would prescribe it for insomnia. Compounds in valerian inhibit the breakdown of GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain associated with calmness, good mood, and wouldn’t you know it, sleep! Side note: decreased levels of progesterone may be linked with low GABA function which can contribute to poor sleep and anxiety (especially leading up to menopause).
Decaffeinated green tea: drinking five cups a day can reduce psychological distress by up to 20%. The polyphenols (chemicals in plants that act as antioxidants) help offset both physical and mental fatigue and help you fall asleep with greater ease.
Whichever one you choose, relax into the experience and enjoy those moments to re-energize and re-set.