After years of an unhealthy habit, you’ve decided to finally break your caffeine addiction. That’s great! But how can you start? Quitting coffee is easier said than done and the mere thought of giving up your morning cup of Joe breaks your heart, I know. It’s difficult, but it’s worth it. Quitting cold turkey has its advantages: it’s the fastest way to detox your system, and you don’t have to keep track of how much caffeine you ingest, because it should be zero. The downside is that it is the most difficult way to do it. You’ll get withdrawal symptoms, headaches, low energy and you will just miss it. If that seems like it’s worth it for you, godspeed. If you want to quit your habit painlessly, here are a few tips.
1. Wane your caffeine consumption by 50 mg every couple of days
This means giving up a quarter cup of coffee or a full cup of tea every two days. If your problem is soda, cut back on one can every two days. And if your poison are energy drinks, drink half a can less every tow days. You should continue to wane your consumption until you reach zero. This method can take long if your caffeine consumption is as insane as mine was, but it is much less shocking to your system, so your withdrawal symptoms will be less severe. The downside is that you’ll have to track your daily consumption and be mindful about it. The upside is that you will barely miss coffee once it’s gone.
2. Use the power of substitution
Quitting coffee is hard not only because of that sweet, sweet caffeine, but also because of habit. You are used to drinking coffee. It’s part of your routine, get up, drink a cup of Joe, get ready for work… or maybe drive to the office, pick up a latte at Starbucks and drink it while you read your emails… Whatever your routine is, you have to address that. Start your morning with green tea. Pick up a Chai latte on your way to work. Get together with friends and order some herbal infusion instead of a cappuccino. Bonus points: you get to broaden your horizons. Or you could just go for a lovely ice cream instead. No coffee though.
3. Avoid that caffeine crash
If you are used to coffee being your pick-me-up when you start to feel drowsy early in the afternoon, quitting may lead you to feel lethargic and unproductive. The solution here is to use alternative methods to feel more energetic. First things first: stop eating carbs at lunch. They will make you feel heavy and sleepy, and it will be impossible to concentrate after that. Instead, pick some food that has a strong protein component, like nuts or tuna. If you do get drowsy in the afternoon and you are some plcae that will allow it (so, maybe not the office), take a power nap. Sleeping is much more effective than coffee when you feel sleepy. I know, shocking. As long as you don’t over sleep, your productivity will improve after you catch a few Z’s. A 20 minute nap at 2:30 pm has been scientifically proven to be the most efficient way to get your energy boost and be productive the rest of the day.