There are approximately 100 million cups of tea made a day in the UK. A small part of a person's day, but a significant one nonetheless.
In 2022 our carers recorded making over 15,000 hot drinks for service users during their visits. In recognition of this week being Afternoon Tea Week, we wanted to celebrate the power of a good cup of tea and the difference it can make
The tradition of afternoon tea:
The tradition of having tea in the afternoon began in the 1840’s, started by the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Marie Russell. Anna created this concept to keep hunger at bay during the day, and began inviting her friends for tea paired with sandwiches and cakes. The popularity of afternoon tea grew when Queen Victoria, a friend of Anna’s, also started having afternoon tea, and it eventually became a social event of sorts.
To this day, afternoon tea is considered a special occasion, whether in the comfort of your own home, or at a restaurant or cafe.
Benefits of a cup of tea:
The UK has since been one of the world's largest tea drinkers, however, tradition isn’t the only reason tea continues to be one of the most popular drinks. Did you know that there are also many physical and mental benefits to having a cuppa?
That’s right, a cup of tea is more than just a comforting drink, some of these benefits include:
Aside from the above reasons, tea can provide many social benefits too. Drinking a cup of tea with someone can be a way to connect and build relationships. This is especially important when working in the care industry, due to interacting with service users daily.
Many of our service users are elderly, and as we grow older, our vulnerability to loneliness greatly increases. Making a cup of tea for another person is a simple act of kindness that can go a long way.
A study on loneliness in the UK revealed that 6-13% of people over the age of 65 reported feeling lonely 'all or most of the time'. Many of our service users fall into this category, and sometimes our carers may be the only source of interaction a service user has in a day. You can read more about how carer conversations are combating loneliness, along with tips to engage in meaningful conversations with service users.
Often a cup of tea can act as an icebreaker and encourage us to relax. Tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can help us to reduce stress, anxiety and improve relaxation, and may also promote a sense of mindfulness.
It's not just important for our service users, but also for carers. Encouraging carers to take the time for themselves throughout the day is a great way to reduce and cope with carer fatigue.
Carer fatigue is when a carer ‘burns out’ and has difficulty looking after themselves whilst they focus on caring for others. Carer fatigue can also have a negative effect on your mental and/or physical health, which is why it’s important to prioritise your wellbeing and make sure you take regular breaks. To find out more, read our top 10 wellbeing tips for care assistants here.
With Afternoon Tea Week in mind, why not continue the tradition by ensuring you take some time either by yourself, with a service user, or with a loved one, for a soothing cup of tea.
If you know the power of a cup of tea, and would love to make a difference to the lives of service users in your community, you can apply here for carer roles across the UK.