Let me start by saying this, in October 2016 I was on a Gilmore Girl type of level when it came to drinking my daily coffee. And if you’ve never seen Gilmore Girls… all it would take to understand what I’m talking about is watching 10 minutes of an episode on Netflix.
3 cups, say what?!
I had been this way for years. I would only drink it occasionally in high school, but college is when the obsession became SO real. Probably out of necessity…
Throughout high school and into college + now currently, my struggle with anxiety has been a straight up rollercoaster ride. I’m talking like happy-go-lucky one minute… thinks one negative or anxiety inducing thought the next… and then enters into full on breakdown mode.
Never ever underestimate the power that your thoughts can have once they start to spiral.
But we’ll save that topic for another time, let’s get back to the point here.
I never once noticed a correlation between my coffee drinking and my anxiety level. UNTIL I stopped drinking coffee! *gasp* I did what?! Yes, I gave it up. I broke the addiction. Why? Because caffeine became a trigger for my anxiety.
Was it a struggle? Oh, yes. But mentally, it was honestly the best decision that I could have made for my health.
But why though?
If you’re reading this post, then I can only assume that you know the symptoms of anxiety — panic, restlessness, racing heart, nervousness, irritability… the list could seriously go on forever. Caffeine intake can also cause these EXACT same symptoms — dizziness, racing heart, nervousness.
And check this: caffeine can cause anxiety itself. Meaning: existing anxiety + added caffeine is just asking for the symptoms to be amplified. And it gets worse: the effects of caffeine can last in the body for 4 hours (longer than any normal bout of anxiety or panic would).
So if you have anxiety and you’re experiencing the symptoms of it + you drink caffeine which causes anxiety and amplifies all of anxiety’s existing symptoms… you are 100% asking for a mental and physical disaster. I hope that just reading that one sentence made you re-think your caffeine consumption.
Let me give you some background info.
Every morning, I would wake up and drink my coffee first thing. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even get out of bed until my boyfriend had started the coffeemaker… spoiled? Yes.
It got to the point that if I slept in too late, I would immediately wake up with a headache since it had been too long since I’d put caffeine into my system. Other times, I would drink so much coffee before I even started my day that it would put me “on edge” all day and cause me to get irritated at trivial things (anxiety + added caffeine = disaster, remember?) Oh man, and my sleeping habits were HORRIBLE.
The combination of all these issues is when I came to the realization that it was time for a change. A drastic one. Dramatic much? It’s just coffee, right? Yes, it’s just coffee but like I said earlier, I was the Lorelei Gilmore of coffee drinkers.
Now that I’ve given you story of the love/hate relationship of my caffeine and I, let me tell you how I quit…
I just did. I stopped drinking it.
The headaches were intense for 3 weeks, I craved the delicious taste of a sweet iced coffee, and I was tired ALL THE TIME. But I did it, and I have NEVER felt better.
I don’t get headaches or migraines, I fall asleep easier than I ever have in my entire life, I don’t get moody or anxious or on edge during the day, I am no longer tied to a cup filled with caffeine in the morning, and I’m starting to get used to my new caffeine free energy levels.
Now, coffee is an option for when I really just want to enjoy the taste of it.
However, I am much so a creature of habit and routine.
So, I still need a hot beverage in the morning. Instead of turning on the coffeemaker, I turn on my electric tea kettle and enjoy a cup of hot *caffeine free* tea.
I love this tea kettle because it’s so SO pretty, is a sturdy ceramic material, the actual kettle lifts off of the plugin for easy pouring, it shuts off automatically once your water reaches a rolling boil (which happens super quick), and it is the perfect size. It gets a ton of use in my house. It’s a tad-bit spendy… But I think it’s worth every penny if you’re a big tea-drinker.
On certain mornings when I do need that tiny caffeine boost, I usually still stick to hot tea over coffee because it gives me a little extra energy without going overboard. Simply because the average cup of coffee can contain up to around 200 mg of caffeine, while most of the caffeinated teas that are in my cabinet have less than 50 mg.
That is a HUGE difference, especially for someone that is already sensitive to anxiety. That extra 150 mg can be a killer when it comes to intensifying the symptoms.
So instead of running for your coffee maker when you need an energy boost, grab some hot tea and some breakfast.
The hot tea will trick your mind into thinking you’re getting your huge caffeine fix and will give you a little bit of energy. While an actual breakfast will provide your body with all of the nutrients it needs to maximize your energy levels + your mental and physical performance. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day (I love my research).
DO NOT skip it and convince yourself that the caffeine will do the trick like I used to think it would… This habit will do more harm to your body and mind than you think.
Cut the caffeine, drink some tea, and eat a decent breakfast. You’ll feel energized, less anxious, and more aware mentally and physically.
So, if you’re feeling tied to your little coffee mug a little too much lately, weigh the pros and cons! Decide if it’s best for you to quit drinking it out of necessity, and commit.
Believe it or not, it tastes even better when it doesn’t feel like it’s life or death if you get a cup when you wake up or not.
Let me know if you’ve gone through something similar, found a major anxiety trigger, or if you have any other tips for managing anxiety! Also let me know if your Gilmore Girls obsession is as strong as mine is…
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