When it’s Time for a Change

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I’ve had a long romance with caffeine, but I’m starting to see it’s one of those unhealthy relationships where it feels really good at first but leaves you feeling really bad afterward. It feels great to have that jolt of energy in the morning, but it doesn’t feel great to be irritable and anxious at lunchtime. Honestly, either the symptoms have always been there and I didn’t want to see them, or I’ve just recently become extremely intolerant to caffeine. So I’m making the tough decision to break up with caffeine.

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against coffee or caffeine. This isn’t a post to convince you to stop drinking soda or coffee (phew!). Everyone has different limits and experiences. We all have changes that we’re trying to make in our lives and/or working to kick bad habits. I think we can find inspiration from each other.

So I’m sharing what’s been working for me during this tough transition…

Baby Steps

I’m taking it slow. My first thought was to go “cold turkey” but I realized that might not be the wisest decision. The first step I took was to eliminate my afternoon caffeine, then I stopped drinking my second cup of coffee in the morning, then I switched to one cup of half-caff coffee. That’s the step I’m at right now. It was the right decision to make the change slowly because every one of those steps has been hard. When my half-caff runs out then I’ll switch entirely to decaf. I feel ready for it.

Find Better Options

Sometimes it’s the habit that needs to change but in this case it was the outcome that needed to change. Thankfully there are lots of decaf options because the thought of giving up my morning coffee puts tears in my eyes. I love the flavor of coffee and don’t want to give up that habit. Sometimes the habit isn’t the problem, it’s simply a matter of finding a better option.

Load Up on the Good Stuff

Since I feel a bit icky, I’ve been upping my vitamins (not the doses, but basically remembering to take them). B-vitamins are especially important for my energy levels. I feel better when I take them regularly. I’ve also been trying to eat better throughout the day to avoid any sugar crashes. It’s tempting to load up on sugar to offset the lack of energy but I know a sugar crash would lead me straight to the arms of caffeine and I don’t want that to happen.

Owning My Limitations

The best part about caffeine was being able to push past my tiredness to get more things done. My body set a limit and I crashed through it with caffeine. Sadly, now I see how it was a weapon I used against my body. Without the crutch of caffeine, I have to confront and accept my limitations. I can’t push through. I have to lie down and rest some afternoons. I’m moving slower, feeling tired, and not getting as much done. I don’t exactly like this part of the deal. But this quote has been helping me realize that what I can do today is enough:

“I am enough. We all will just have to accept what I have to give.”

– Anne Wilson Schaef

Isn’t that what it all comes down to? It’s not really about the caffeine. It’s about pushing myself too hard and doing too much. My friend wrote this great blog post about asking: are you living what you value? She posted it as I was coming to my decision about quitting caffeine and it put into words exactly what I was feeling. I always joked that caffeine made me a better Mom but, when I was honest with myself, the aftermath of caffeine was not who I wanted to be. I want to be a calm, peaceful person. It’s what I’ve been working toward, especially hard this year, making wise choices with our time and efforts. Instead I was feeling stressed out and anxious. I wasn’t living what I valued.

Change isn’t easy. It’s been a hard adjustment but it’s been worth it. I’m happy to report that I am feeling better.

Are you making a change in your life? What’s been helping you? Please share your tips in the comments.

6 thoughts on “When it’s Time for a Change

  1. Ginger, this is so wonderful. I love how much thought you have given to this decision and how eloquently you have articulated the struggle and process. It’s about caffeine, but yet, it is about so much more. It’s about our ability to recognize our limitations, triggers, and then deciding what we’ll do with that information. <—-the first step is admitting we have a problem, right?

    You have inspired me to do the same. Like you, I love the idea of my first morning cup, but also like you, I feel the effects later in the day. Ditto on sugary creamer…

    In the past, I also "crashed through" my afternoon with more coffee/soda/caffeine. I have mostly quit afternoon caffeine and it has helped my sleep at bedtime too.

    I'm going to pick up some half-caff and start weening myself as well; even if that means brewing my own small French press in the mornings. You're an inspiration! || HUGS ||

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the sweet note and encouragement. I’m glad we can spur each other along on this crazy journey of life. You definitely inspire me and thank you for that timely post a few weeks ago. It was like an arrow to my heart, in a good way. Hugs!

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  2. I started a 6 month pre-op program for gastric bypass surgery in November and the first thing they told be was my coffee had to go. The caffeine and sugar need to go. So, I switched to decaf right away (cold turkey has always worked for me) It was a nightmare! I was moody, tired, headaches… bla… but it only lasted three days then I was fine. I’ve been almost 100% caffeine free since and it’s been good. I have also been changing my eating as part of this program. I have found adding more protein and less carbs has made a huge difference energy wise and it helped with the caffeine withdrawals too. I do need to up my vitamins though, so I’ll be looking into that next.
    Way to go on the small steps! You’ve got this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenn, you are my hero! Wow! That’s amazing and good for you! That fact that those two things – sugar and caffeine – were the first things to go is a tell-tale sign of how much damage they can do to us, huh?! Thank you for the encouragement today!

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  3. Good luck, I hope you get the results you want! One good thing about not drinking much caffeine regularly is that when you do have some you really feel it. Excellent point about masking the signals your body is sending you – so many of us don’t get enough sleep (myself included and I have no magic tips how to get more with kids haha).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, I’m definitely guilty of not getting enough sleep but I have found myself going to bed earlier now. As for the tiredness, I keep telling myself to accept it and embrace it (instead of chasing it away with caffeine). At some point I’ll catch up on my rest….even if it’s in 10 years when the kids move out and go to college! Ha!

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