It used to be a bit of a running joke. My coworkers would look at me curiously and say, "oh, you're off coffee again?" I was forever taking short, one to two week breaks from coffee, only to jump right back on the caffeinated bandwagon.
I honestly never liked how I felt when I was drinking coffee. I have a lower caffeine tolerance, and it only takes a cup to start making me jittery. I start talking faster and mentally running circles around myself. And coffee is known to amplify stress levels throughout the day, which frankly I didn't need. I'm a pretty laid-back person, so it never felt authentic. But at the same time, it felt necessary just to lift my brain out of the fog in the morning.
My daily coffee would give me the trusty surge of energy to crank out my morning's work, but then I would be left coming down from the caffeine high - and hard. It became tough to avoid sugary food in the afternoon, which I was craving just to bring my energy level back up. It was a bit of a roller coaster, but it still pulled me in each morning.
Last fall, I re-committed myself to a life without the highs and lows of caffeine. It wasn't easy, but there were a couple of easy steps I took to get there. Now coffee is a "once in awhile" treat, vs. a daily must have. After all, I do really like the taste of coffee. It's just that I am choosing IT vs. coffee choosing me each morning!
1. Switch to tea. I know, some of you are thinking, "there's no freaking way I am going to get what I need from tea." I like tea, but I was skeptical too. But, I found a really great organic green tea with lots of flavor that did the trick. I also added solid green tea extracts for a little extra dose of goodness. Granted, there's some caffeine in green tea, but less.
2. More water. After my first cup of tea, I would switch to water or peppermint tea. Often we feel tired when we're dehydrated, so it is a simple hack to drink a bit more water to keep me from turning to coffee for hydration. Side note, coffee is a diuretic. So, not only are you on an energy roller coaster, but you're also zapping your body of fluids!
3. Sleep. Yeah, this is an obvious one. I was terribly sleep deprived, getting just about an hour too short of sleep each night. That doesn't sound like much, but it added up. Prioritizing sleep so I woke up feeling more rested made the next morning's need for a quick pick-me-up much less.
4. Exercise. I had a gym membership right around the corner, so I made a regular effort to get my workouts in and after a week or two I felt more sustained energy throughout the day. It helped me sleep better, too. Win, win!
When things are shifting out of balance and I start reaching for coffee more, I look closely at each of the above four tips and see where I am falling short. Usually it's the sleep thing, but it's all connected!
Are you in dire need of coffee each day and looking to lessen your intake? Give these simple tips a try and let me know how they work for you!