Fed up with sleepless nights, an unshakable sense of worry and scattered thoughts? I was, too. So I began to dig around to find the source of my anxiety and lack of focus.
I used to blame it all on hormones, PMS and stress. And my demanding career and crappy lifestyle choices weren’t helping. But once I got a better grasp on my hormones (thank you, naturopath!), quit my job and made some necessary changes, I was shocked: My anxiety didn’t disappear. While it wasn’t as strong as it used to be, the shakes were definitely still bubbling under the surface. It was time to experiment.
Thus began the end of my love affair with coffee.
Caffeine has never helped me function. It’s always been a drug that ramps me up to an intolerable level. If I didn’t eat a shitload of carbs with every cup, I’d be jittery and then, a couple of hours later, I’d feel my blood sugar crash. Left a quivering mess, I would search desperately for candy, chocolate, cookies — anything to get me flying again. Hello, roller coaster.
Regardless of whether the latte I chugged back was small or large, or how much I ate with it, I had trouble focusing. If I dared a sip after 2pm, I was in for some serious effects on my body late into the night. Instead of passing out as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was plagued with restless and scattered thoughts and unfounded worries.
In desperation, I switched my caffeine cut-off time from 2pm to 10am but it still didn’t help. Somehow my body didn’t work off the effects of those beans for more than 12 hours (crazy, huh?).
At this point, I was starting to question my craving for coffee altogether. I was wondering: Is that cuppa java really worth it?
There’s just something about the coffee ritual that I love. Setting up the machine to slow drip and send the aroma wafting through the air as I get ready for my day is heavenly. Wandering to the local cafe to grab a latte to sip on a stroll around the ‘hood on a lazy Sunday morning in the city is just so me.
Now, that month was already shaping up to be a roller coaster. I was doubting my business and how I was running it. I was doubting my ability to go off on my own and make a good living, etc, etc. But when it finally ended, caffeine-free, I noticed a huge difference in how I was feeling. Despite the unbalance in my life, I definitely felt more centred and less tense.
It wasn’t easy cutting out coffee. When I had a hard time getting up in the morning, I appreciated the fantastic jolt I’d get from my latte. The immediate burst of energy got me moving when all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed. Meeting to catch up or talk shop just didn’t feel the same without my usual order. Was it really coffee that was crushing my happy?
To find the answer, I put my hunch to the test. In my uncaffeinated state, met up with a friend to get updated on our lives and businesses and when he ordered an Americano, I ordered an Americano. And after a few sips, there was no question. Coffee and I were no longer meant to be.
After a month without them attacking my body, the jitters came back with a vengeance. On the way home, I was filled with dread. What would happen if I failed at my business, could no longer pay the rent and ended up homeless on the streets? Yes, dramatic, I know. But it was the coffee talking. Just one hit of caffeine, and life was practically coming to a halt.
It was then, and during my sleepless night that evening, that I decided this was it. I was officially Done. With. Coffee.
I’ve since replaced my rituals with tea, which seems to have a more calming effect on my system. I can chug back a couple of cups of green tea a day and not feel like the world is crumbling under my feet.
I’m with the English on this one. I’d rather stick to sipping tea than be burdened with anxious thoughts about things that haven’t even happened yet. It beats obsessing over worst-case scenarios in my mind. I’m done with wallowing in self-doubt and fear.
Of course, quitting coffee might not work for everyone. It might not necessarily get rid of your anxiety and tension, but hey, it might. I dare you to go cold turkey for a month, then reintroduce it to see what happens. My takeaway? It certainly beats feeling like crap.
OK, so now that you’re purging, how about the friends in your life? Are they working for you or do they deserve the axe?