Giving up Coffee!
Coffee and tea are a big part of many cultures across the world. There are ceremonies and expensive equipment that can be purchased for both beverages. Coffee particularly is a big part of mom culture too. A quick web-search will reveal page after page of moms unable to function without coffee memes. And I played along. It took two cups of coffee to get me going in the morning. Two BIG cups. The Grande not the Tall. 32 ounces! When those two big cups began to give me heart burn and I wasn’t feeling particularly lively even after drinking them I realized that maybe coffee had begun to cause me to feel sluggish in the morning in the first place. A little caffeine can be good for you but there are lots of other things that are good for you too. Like getting good sleep and waking refreshed in the morning.
I’m no longer in those sleep-deprived first years of parenthood by a long stretch as my youngest just turned 14! I had no excuse for needing the boost to get me going in the morning.
Another reason I decided to quit my caffeine habit was because the more I read the more I heard that CEOs and other successful people don’t drink coffee to get going in the morning. Most seem to drink lemon water first thing and then exercise and spend time with family and THEN get to the email. OK one thing at a time: let me just get through to the other side of coffee!
But giving up coffee is bigger than just giving up a caffeinated beverage first thing in the morning. I had formed the habit of waking up and fixing a hot beverage. So, in addition to giving up an addictive stimulant I was also faced with changing a life-long habit. One that has a lot of social connections too: meeting people for coffee, going for coffee in the afternoon with colleagues when I work in the office, coffee after dinner and the whole tea culture that I grew up with in the UK.
My solution to kicking the addiction to caffeine was giving up cold turkey both coffee and tea. Now granted I was drinking 3 or 4 standard sized cups of coffee rather than 20 and I wasn’t getting caffeine in any other drinks or foods during the day so it wasn’t a full-blown addiction. If you have a serious coffee habit then all the recommendations seem to be to cut back slowly, one cup a day until you are either down to ‘manageable quantities’ or give it up all together. After a day I got a headache that lasted 2 days but then went away. I also had an intense urge to go buy coffee for the first 4 days because, let’s face it, like so many other things we consume coffee can become an addiction.
My solution to the habit has been to switch to rooibos or other herbal, but non-fruity teas which contains no caffeine. I still get my hot, slightly sweetened, and milky beverage first thing in the morning but it comes stimulant-free.
I thought I would totally drag in the mornings without my daily two cups and in the afternoons without my cup of tea but I actually feel livelier in the morning without the coffee. In the afternoon when I feel that post-lunch slump I get outside and walk for 15 minutes and that does me a lot more good that the tea ever did. That helps me kill two birds with one stone and get some exercise too.
One step at a time though. I think it will be a while before I am ready for the lemon water.