Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Coffee Habit

I have been a coffee drinker for as long as I can remember...I can probably trace it back to high school, when I started with ice coffee with lots of sugar and worked my way up from there. Over the years I have vacillated the amounts and types of coffee I was drinking- instant, filtered, lattes,... but my coffee habit remained pretty steady. I managed to switch to decaf for some of my pregnancies, yet my coffee mug was pretty much always around.
It was more than the caffeine, to me coffee is synonymous with relaxation. It means- sit down and take a minute for yourself. When I buy a coffee in stores, it is about "treating" myself- someone else is making it for me and all I need to do is enjoy. And fight off my kids who want a sip, but that is a different story.
With sleep deprivation and my busy life though, coffee became more about the caffeine and less about the "relaxation"
This past month has been especially challenging and stressful for me. During this time, I relied on my coffee to get me through.What I was noticing though, was that the coffee was not really working anymore. In fact, it seemed to be hurting me. I was trying to just get through the day, crossing things off my ever expanding to-do list, but instead of feeling energized, I had headaches. Pretty bad headaches. I could usually get rid of my headaches with some advil but did not want to start relying on coffee and advil to get through the day.
I thought I was just especially tired or needed more coffee, but I realized that this would just start an ever worsening cycle of more and more caffeine.
So I decided that my body is sending me a message to stop abusing it...if I want to keep going, do well in school, and keep our home running, I need to take care of myself. This means getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, and taking time to unwind and relax. I am officially cutting out caffeine for the next few weeks to see how I feel without it. I am not going all out on this- giving up caffeine does not include chocolate, the occasional cup of diet coke or other things with caffeine, but it is a start.Because I cannot give up my habit of sipping coffee, I will be switching to decaf to have the "experience" without the caffeine.
So far I am on day 2- I am curious to see if I can keep this up and will notice any noticeable improvement in the way I am feeling. I will keep you posted

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