In times of stress, take a moment with a cup of herbal tea
A few weeks ago, the Summit Daily News ran an article offering advice from experts about how to manage stress and anxiety. It offered four main tips:
- Understand what’s in your control
- Reduce media consumption
- Talk with others
- Reach out for help
These are all excellent tips and an especially good reminder that, while stress and anxiety may feel like they can’t be shared with or borne by others, one of the best ways to address them is to engage with other people and be open about how you are doing.
Today, I wanted to expand a little more on understanding what’s in your control and address what I see as a subset of that category: making a cup of tea. For me, part of understanding what’s in your control is acknowledging that when I’m stressed, I am able to take a moment to pause and catch my breath.
Jeremy Flick, a barista at Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco, points out that making a cup of tea is an excellent way to take a moment for yourself.
“Really, for me, what’s relaxing about tea is having that warm cup in your hand, having the few minutes to let it steep and get to the right temperature,” Flick said. “It’s mostly about taking that time.”
Aside from the calming effects of the ritual of making the tea, Flick also said herbal teas, which include relaxing ingredients such as chamomile and lavender and are typically caffeine free, can be especially helpful for someone looking to unwind. For stress, he recommends a peppermint or lavender tea, or Next Page’s pink rose lemonade tea which includes rose, lavender, chamomile and spearmint.
Next Page offers a large variety of loose-leaf herbal teas, all of which can be brewed at the store or bought in bulk to be made at home. The store also offers brewing accessories, such as tea infusers and single-serve tea pots for those who want to brew at home.
Ema Landis, the owner of Mom’s Baking Co. in Breckenridge, recommends their baked tea, a shop specialty that she and her mother developed when she grew up in Roznov pod Radhostem in the eastern Czech Republic.
“I grew up on a farm with lots of fruits and berries,” she said, explaining that her family developed a mix of secret spices that they add in and bake with the fruit as they preserved their harvests.
Baked tea is a speciality in that region of Europe and a common menu item in local cafes served both hot and iced. Mom’s sells the tea by the jar, which is five to six servings of tea, plus the fruit can be eaten after the tea is brewed. Right now, Mom’s fruit mix includes blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, but it will vary seasonally.
“The smell is very relaxing,” she added.
At Inxpot in Keystone, try two herbal blends: the hibiscus warmer — consisting of blackberry leaf, cinnamon bark, hibiscus, lemongrass and rose hip — and a soothing mix called cold comfort, which combines chamomile, echinacea, elderflower, licorice root and peppermint.
Red Buffalo Coffee & Tea in Silverthorne offers a citrus rose hip tea, which blends chamomile, lemon myrtle, citrus, mint and hibiscus into a calming brew and is available brewed at the shop or can be bought in bulk.
Aside from the many excellent local options, you also can grow your own teas in a herb garden. For herbal teas, I love anise hyssop (a mint relative that grows broad leaves with a strong black licorice flavor), lemon balm (which provides a more mellow lemon flavor) and tarragon. Tarragon is usually used in savory dishes, but I’ve found that it adds an excellent flavor to citrus teas, as well.
I will often boil fresh leaves in simple syrup, which allows me to add additional flavor when I’m sweetening my favorite blend. Leaves also can be dried easily by hanging or with a dehydrator for use in a tea infuser.
Steven Josephson is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News.
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