4 Tips for lockdown love this Valentine’s Day

New studies highlight the pandemic’s dire effect on our intimate relationships but also revealed that a shared cuppa could help. With Valentine’s Day approaching I asked Dr Tim Bonds to give me four tips for lockdown love. He offered precious advice and he also told me what our favourite tea can say about us.

A new research review has laid bare the negative impact of the COVID pandemic on adult intimacy and relationships and warned of the knock-on effects on mental wellness and even immunity, leading the Tea Advisory Panel to create 4 tips for lockdown love.

Writing in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews, an international team of researchers looked at the effect of COVID restrictions, such as the ban on hugging, kissing or being in a sexual relationship with anyone living in another household – whether or not the relationship is monogamous.

Regular intimacy with a partner was found to improve heart health and protect against cognitive decline. Sexually active older adults have better memory and are less likely to feel depressed or lonely. In younger adults, regular intimacy boosted levels of immunoglobulin A in saliva which has been linked with better defences against pathogens.

In contrast, the higher rates of low mood, anxiety, depression, irritability and fear seen in adults locked down by the pandemic dampen sexual desire and make intimacy problems, such as erectile dysfunction, worse.

Another study revealed that 44 per cent of young and middle-aged adults were having less sex, while a report from Australia noted an increase in using dating apps to set up virtual dates. 

With no opportunities for lovers to meet over candlelit dinners – unless you’re already co-habiting – Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel says: “The pandemic has been really tough on relationships, whether it’s stressed couples cooped up all day together, or partners who live in different households or even different parts of the country. However, you can definitely keep the flame burning by making time to talk and share experiences, even if it’s online for now”. 

 

Dr Tim Bond has come up with 4 top tips for lockdown love:

#1. I LOVE BREW – Herbal teas can put you in the mood for love so get together in person or online with a mug of calming rose or chamomile tea, or try zingy ginger tea to fire you up.

#2. WALK THE TALK – Meeting one person outside is allowed in many areas so, if possible, get together for a stroll and catch up on your day. This is important even if you already co-habit!

#3. POST A KISS – For lovers who live far apart, why not write an old-fashioned love letter. Go the whole hog with scented paper, a fountain pen or a flurry of little paper hearts inside the envelope.

#4. BOOKED IN – Make a personalised photo book for your partner within an online app to remind them of all the special times you’ve spent together.

 

What kind of lover are you? Your favourite tea reveals the answer … see what lover you are.

 

Regular black tea

Steady, reliable and strong with hidden depths. You love in a bold, confident way with a hint of maturity.

 

Ginger tea

Fiery and hot, leaving a warm glow wherever you touch. Sometimes, too much for people to handle, you make up for this by being fiercely loyal.

 

Chamomile tea

Most people would describe you as chilled and laid back with an inner calm. Able to bring peace and tranquillity to any situation, you are the ideal partner for stress bunnies.

 

Darjeeling tea

Refined and sophisticated with impeccable taste. You have beautiful, old-fashioned manners that inspire confidence and respect.

 

Green tea

Refreshingly different and apt to go against the flow. You are rarely the same twice and can surprise and amaze when you put your mind to it.

 

Rosehip tea

Deeply passionate and sweet, when you decide to love, it’s forever. But let this be a warning to anyone who takes your love for granted – you have an astringent side too.

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