REDUCE STRESS WITH A CUP OF TEA
Strange how a teapot can
represent at the same time the
comforts of solitude
and the pleasures of company.
When you’re bone-tired at the end of a long day and don’t want to get the kitchen dirty again, you may satisfy a need for comfort with a cookie, a piece of pie, or some other food that might make you feel great (temporarily), but also packs a bunch of calories. You might also have a cup of coffee - decaf if it’s near bedtime. But there’s really nothing special about coffee; it’s part of your routine. So what else is quick, easy, and relaxing? How about a cup of tea?
Unlike coffee, which peps you up and gives you a fresh jolt of energy, tea calms you down and can help put you in a peaceful frame of mind. Try drinking tea the next time you feel that things are chaotic and stressful. Wrap your hands around a cup of tea and let the warmth radiate right up to your elbows. Inhale the steam. Let the aroma transport you to another world.
If you’re like most Americans, tea reminds you of iced tea in the summer or a plain brew that you drank with lemon when you were sick. You might think of English ladies pouring it into dainty china cups and taking their tea with crumpets in late afternoon, or Japanese ladies in an elaborate tea ceremony filled with ritual. For many, tea has been so civilized, formal, and even a little stuffy.
These days, however, tea has a new image. In addition to its simplicity, warmth, and taste, tea has become exotic. The supermarket shelves that used to display only those all-American favorites, Lipton and Tetley, are now filled with varieties from all over the world: India, China, and Japan, as well as the British Isles and those familiar American teas.
Shopping for Tea
Shopping for tea can be an educational experience, whether you are scanning the supermarket shelves or ordering online. No need to be confused. Be adventurous. So many cultures are contributing to the tea pot as well as the American melting pot, and you can share in the variety and stimulation of the new flavors. In addition to the four basic types of tea: Oolong, black, green, and white tea- which can be bought in the form of tea leaves or tea bags – herbal teas are also popular in this country. You don’t get too many chances to make choices when you’re stuck in the house. You can also shop online and order packages of tea, beautiful teapots, and all kinds of accessories.
Websites like the following offer recipes that help to make your tea-drinking a special occasion:
Brewing a Pot of Tea
Brewing a pot of tea can take your mind off your other caregiving rituals and even provide a sense of accomplishment as creative as arranging flowers or baking a cake. Preparation takes mere minutes, whether you boil a cup of water in your favorite tea kettle and drop an instant tea bag into your biggest mug - or brew tea leaves in a lovely ceramic pot.
Some like their tea English style with milk; others with a slice of lemon. My friend Charlene likes her tea with honey. I like to drop in a cinnamon stick or dunk a biscotti. You might even want to try Chai, which is short for Masala Chai, a type of tea made in India. Chai is simply the word for “tea” in Hindi and several other Asian languages. Masala Chai is usually served with milk or cream, and is heavily spiced with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, or allspice.
Tea for Two
While a tea break can be a fulfilling, relaxing moment all to yourself, you can also use tea time as a special moment with your patient, who will likewise savor the aroma, the flavor, and the warmth of a hot cup of tea. Why not make your own tea ceremony a time to exercise your creativity? If you and your patient are imaginative, you can create an Asian or English setting with a teapot and cups from the country of the day, flowers, and music. And if someone drops in unexpectedly, you can have a cup of tea ready in minutes. A caregiver may not have the time or energy to “entertain.” However, you can make anyone feel welcome when you put out your tea set and brew an exotic tea that will surprise and delight.