May 29 , 2021
International Tea Day & Mental Health Awareness Month
Is it coincidence that International Tea Day (May 21) falls during Mental Health Awareness (the month of May)?
I say there are no coincidences in life.
It’s also no coincidence that approximately 51.5 million adults in the US face the day-to-day reality of managing the symptoms of a mental illness in a given year.1 This American life was not designed with wellness, balance and mental health top of mind. And it’s certainly not getting any easier.
Food as fuel
I’ve blogged before about green tea and anxiety in Why 40 million anxious Americans should be sipping green tea, and this month CNN has picked up where I left off with Why drinking tea might just help in a crisis in their Food as Fuel series. The article summarizes the benefits of drinking green tea to reduce depression and anxiety, to aid memory and other cognitive functions, to name only a few of the benefits to mental wellness.
Their Food as Fuel article also poses a thoughtful and important quandary: Why?
What makes tea so good—and good for us—anyway?! Where do all these glorious health benefits come from? Is it a single ingredient in tea; is it the combination of all the ingredients that form this magical beneficial elixir; or is it the mindful moment of preparing, steeping and enjoying tea that brings health to our minds, bodies and spirits? I pose yes, yes, and yes!
In this post I’ll focus on the latter, because how you do one thing effects how you do everything.
6 green-tea tips
Mental Health America (MHA) offers 6 tips for success. Green tea has helped me get there, and I think it can help you too.
“Work, paying bills, cleaning, cooking, shopping, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking care of children are just some of the things millions of Americans do each day and it is easy to be overwhelmed. It can feel impossible to get everything done, let alone take care of yourself – especially if you’re already struggling with a mental health concern like depression or anxiety. By creating routines, we organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them.”2
When it comes to our daily lifestyle habits, having good, strong routines is linked to improved mental and physical health! 3
Will green tea solve my momentary crisis? I cannot promise that, no. But the reflective moment you take to breathe in its fine aroma might just give you the calm state of mind you need to be the solution to your own problem — to navigate your one next step. And cradling a warm cup of quiet security in your hands certainly won’t hurt!
Will the chemical effect of L-theanine’s relaxing spell paired with that small boost of caffeine really give me the sustenance I need in a moment of crisis? Yes, it very well may. And I speak from experience. **I’m not advising you replace your anti-anxiety medication with green tea tomorrow; if that’s your interest, then I would direct you to partner with an integrative psychiatrist or a naturopathic doctor on your mental wellness journey.** But if it’s a tense moment or phase you’re going through, then try steeping yourself a fresh, warm cup of a nice green tea, take five deep breaths, smile, and know that you’ve got this!
Make green tea a pleasurable, beneficial, and tasty(!) part your mental wellness routine. I did. And I'm still smiling!
 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 2019
 May is Mental Health Month (2020), Mental Health America (MHA)
 Haines, J., McDonald, J., O’Brien, A., Sherry, B., Bottino, C., Scmidt, M.E., Taveras, E.M. (2013) Healthy habits_ happy homes