Know What Works For You
It’s Your Life…
Want to give up caffeine? I have on a number of times for various reasons. Each attempt to kick the caffeine habit taught me something new about myself and my relationship with caffeine.
I have tried a variety of approaches and detail in this post three of those that I found most useful.
These are not “secret techniques” that I’ve acquired from the powers that be, but rather useful pointers on your own journey of caffeine independence.
For me to do anything of value or substance I need to know why. Back when I was studying for my exams to get into uni and had a bad reaction to consuming too much caffeine, my reason for stopping was that I didn’t want to damage my health.
Later on during a stressful period at work I found that caffeine was no longer helping me to reach my targets and was actually hindering me from working more efficiently.
By understanding the reason why you want to take a particular course of action you increase the chances of success. Know why you want to give up caffeine and write it down. It will come in handy when you get the cravings to read why you’re putting yourself through this uncomfortable experience.
Avoiding caffeine totally has worked for me, but I’ve found that it can make things unnecessarily difficult.
That said, when I’ve been in the mood to just get things done, this approach has worked extremely well. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that when I’ve been in that kind of no nonsense mood I also plan better so caffeine abstinence was easier.
When taking this approach I aim for the start to be on weekends (i.e. last caffeinated drink on Thursday afternoon) so that I can get through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms from Friday evening through to Sunday. In case you don’t know what withdrawal symptoms to look out for here’s a list:
- Lack of focus
- Low motivation
Drinking lots of plain hot water has helped me reduce or eliminate the headaches, tiredness and nausea. Doing some light exercise such as going for a walk has helped in refocusing my mind and motivation.
The one downside to this approach is that I’ve found myself eventually returning back to caffeine in some form or another, which can make you feel disappointed and make it harder to give up the next time you decide to.
Of late, this approach has been my goto first choice. It doesn’t take too much thought and is very manageable.
Simply note how much caffeine you consume in a day and reduce the amount the following day (by a predefined number). Rinse and repeat.
This works well with substituting techniques because it makes it easier to break established routines without having to think about it too much and without having to rely on willpower alone.
So these days instead of waking up and then making myself a coffee, I drink a glass of water instead (sometimes hot, sometimes cold, depending on the weather). When taking a coffee break, I go for a walk.
It soon adds up to a significant reduction of caffeine consumption and eventually you will not even notice that you are doing it!
Which ever way you decide to give up or reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume, be happy with that choice and work through it.
Caffeine has been getting a bad rap lately (and I don’t think it’s not warranted), but it also has some health benefits for particular groups of people. Have an open mind and be flexible when working out what’s best for you.
If you are having difficulty focussing whilst giving up caffeine, or in general, our app V-CAF can help. It’s an Apple Watch app that notifies you when your alertness levels drop so that you can take the appropriate steps to boost your alertness.