Midterms season always seems to come out of nowhere, and when it starts, it's tough to do anything but panic. Whether it's three papers due in the same week or four exams in one day, us college students can all find comfort in the fact that we go through this dreaded time of the year together.There are a ton of energy drinks out there meant to help you power through the pain, but the short-lived boost often from caffeine or sugar tends to make these unhealthy options that will leave you lethargic and unfocused in the long run. Yes, it's time to put your coffee and Red Bull aside and try something different. Your best friend during midterms is going to be tea because of its various health benefits, in addition to moderate amounts of caffeine to keep you from falling asleep mid-essay.
For tea veterans and tea newbies alike, I've picked out a type of tea to get you through each stage of the midterms process.
1. Fired up and ready to go
For the first time in your life, you actually feel on top of midterms this semester. You've got your highlighters and pens laid out to make a Pinterest-worthy study guide and you've closed out of Facebook and Netflix for the first time in weeks.
While you're focused, interested in the class material and feeling your smartest, you might as well grab a cup of coffee to keep up your energy levels, right? Wrong. Go for a mug of green tea instead to avoid that inevitable energy crash a few hours later.
Green tea helps with memory enhancement and focus due to high levels of antioxidants and low levels of caffeine. Catechin, an antioxidant prevalent in green tea, has many health benefits including improved eye sight (read: counter the stress you're putting on your eyes by staring at a computer screen for hours at a time).
My recommendation: Mighty Leaf Green Tea Tropical
You stayed up too late last night on your initial wave of motivation, and today just isn't running as smoothly. All you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for the next week and a half, but unfortunately, your chemistry exam is standing in your way. Steer clear of Red Bull, 5-hour Energy and any other energy supplements that are potentially harmful, and instead, brew yourself a nice big mug of black tea.
Contrary to popular belief, black tea has roughly the same amount of caffeine as coffee and actually rivals coffee when it comes to energy because you're less likely to feel the lull after the initial caffeine boost. The caffeine works alongside beneficial amino acids that promote calmness and relaxation, so you can wake yourself up without getting so jittery that you can't focus on your work.
My recommendation: The Republic of Tea British Black
3. You feel a cold coming on
The worst thing that could possibly happen during exam time is happening. Your nose starts running, you're pretty sure you have a fever, and you're cursing your roommate for hooking up with that guy last weekend who gave her a terrible cold. But midterms don't stop for the common cold, so neither do you. Time to pick up a box of white tea to speed up the recovery process and keep yourself from getting any sicker.
White tea has a lot of antioxidants similar to green tea and works to destroy pathogenic bacteria in your body. This tea actually activates the immune system and gets your body working harder to make you better faster. And once you're feeling healthy again, you can totally ace that exam next Monday.
My recommendation: Tazo Berryblossom White
4. You're contemplating quitting college
Everything was going fine. You were reading through notes and working on flash cards when suddenly you found yourself filling out an application to work at McDonald's because college just isn't for you anymore. How is this amount of work not classified as some form of torture? Have no fear: drink some rooibos tea and exit out of that job application because studying is your sh*t.
Red Tea does a little bit of everything, such as relieving the headaches, insomnia and stomach cramps you might feel as a result of test anxiety. After a few sips of this tea, you're going to feel a little bit calmer and a whole lot more prepared to run through your stack of flash cards once more.
My recommendation: Mighty Leaf Organic African Nectar
5. Food is your only friend
Chips, cookies, half a sandwich, your leftover Chinese take-out from a few nights ago—it's all strewn across your desk, and you can barely find your notes underneath the pile. You can't stop eating your feelings.
Sometimes, the only logical thing to do when exams hit is relieve the stress by eating your heart out, but unfortunately, that comes with some adverse side effects. When self control is just out of reach, reach instead for a cozy mug of oolong tea.
Oolong Tea combines the health benefits of green tea and black tea. It's your best option when you're stress-eating because it clears skin and promotes weight loss by increasing your metabolism.
My recommendation: Bigelow Oolong Tea
When you're studying, the computer can be your best friend or, inevitably, your worst enemy. There are so many pictures of cute animals to be seen, memes to tag friends in, and, of course, Spoon articles to read. When you've gotten off task and can't seem to guide your mouse back to that minimized tab of notes, a steaming cup of earl grey tea is your best bet.
Earl grey fights anxiety, gives you energy and provides stress relief, so you can get back to studying in no time. It also keeps you hydrated, which is especially useful when midterms distract you from getting in that daily allowance of water.
My recommendation: Twinings Earl Grey
7. Mental breakdown
You are so close to exam time, and it's all just too overwhelming to handle. You've made it through exhaustion, a cold, and a quarter-life crisis, but you just haven't made it through your art history notes. Naturally, there's nothing left to do except completely freak out. However you normally might handle this type of mental breakdown should be augmented by a nice cup of lemon tea.
Lemon tea is another drink that is chock full of antioxidants, including vitamin C. It also has calming properties and can help you sleep better if you need to take a power nap before you re-focus your mind on schoolwork.
My recommendation: Bigelow I Love Lemon
8. Night before test day
It's game time. You are so close to Netflix-binging and the return of nights out with friends, but your weeks of stress have taken a serious toll and test day is still looming over you and your happiness. It may feel like there is so much more that you could do to prepare for the test, but the best option is to get a good night's sleep. Chances are you'll wake up feeling energized, confident and ready to kick some exam butt. If your stress is keeping you up at night, try drinking chamomile tea.
Chamomile tea is a calming herbal tea that has a mild sedative effect. This tea lessens test-day anxiety, and can even lessen your chances of having nightmares. You're going to wake up refreshed and ready to recall everything you need to know to ace those exams.
My recommendation: The Republic of Teas Get Some ZZZ's
With these teas on hand, you've got yourself a recipe for success on midterms. The Spooniverse is rooting for you!