Dear coffee, we have a love/hate relationship. On one hand, you're delicious. You offer some great health benefits. You wake me up on groggy mornings and help me push through until lunch. And, you're a fantastic excuse to meet with my friends. However, I can't help but notice that you can be mean to my sensitive stomach. You can also leave me feeling dehydrated and I actually think I am becoming addicted to you.
Okay, that is a little dramatic, but if you think coffee might be starting to take more than it gives, you should try going without for a while. This probably won't be the easiest thing to do, but these 5 great tips should help get you well on your way to being coffee-free.
1. Take It Slowly
If you're a heavy coffee drinker, it's best to ween yourself off slowly. For example, someone who drinks 4 cups per day could try 7-10 days with only 3 cups, followed by 7-10 days with only 2 cups, and so on. This gives the body time to adjust to the slowly declining caffeine levels and helps minimize withdrawal effects. During this transition time you should be able to develop a new habit to replace the old. It may be a bit of a pain tracking your intake, but it's not a problem your diary or notepad can't solve.
2. Find a Replacement
We are creatures of habit. Sometimes, the only reason we drink coffee is because it's a convenient excuse to take a break from the task at hand. If you're like me, you enjoy having something to sip on while you work or socialize. It doesn't have to be coffee, however. I had great success substituting coffee with Purgo Morning Detox Tea. It ticks all the boxes of being comforting and it also has an energizing effect on the body without the caffeine slump. Many of our teatox drinkers report the same. Your favourite tea will work, too. If you're new to teas, I suggest buying a sample pack to find one that suits you.
3. Manage the Headaches
Reducing caffeine intake by just 50-100 mg can lead to withdrawal headaches. That's why it's important to ween yourself off slowly, as per Step 1. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing headaches, the best thing you can do is to drink plenty of fluids and use a natural headache relief. I've had success with adding a few drops of lavender, peppermint or basil oil to hot water and inhaling the vapors. If you must opt for an over-the-counter pain reliever, consider Tylenol over aspirin and ibuprofen since the latter can worsen acid reflux.
4. Find Alternative Energy Sources
It may sound a bit like a presidential candidate's manifesto, but you really can find alternative energy sources. Adequate sleep is probably the number 1. Prevent daytime fatigue by getting to bed on time and getting 7-8 hours of sleep. I really cannot stress this enough. Another great energy source is exercise. A brisk walk around the block or some stretching when you're tired should release enough endorphins to push you out of a slump.
5. Ask Why
This tip, while a little abstract, is perhaps the most important. Ask yourself why you truly need coffee. For me personally, it went something like this.
- Why do I need coffee? Because I am tired.
- Why are you tired? Because I didn't sleep well last night.
- Why didn't you sleep well? Because I was stressing about my job.
- Why are you stressing? Because I have a poor relationship with my boss and feel unfulfilled.
It turns out that coffee became a necessity due to unhappiness at work. Coming to this kind of realization helped me to get my life back on track, and I no longer rely on coffee. Your stream of questions is hopefully not as drastic as this! But, it can't hurt to find the true underlying reasons you need that cup of joe.