Splitting headache at 10am. Not a fine way to start the day.
For the last 10+ years, I’ve consumed 2-5 cups of coffee every day. I was hooked to coffee is an understatement. It had gotten so bad that if I didn’t get coffee by 9am, I’d get a debilitating migraine for the rest of the day. I also had restless sleep, bordering on insomnia, where I wouldn’t sleep at all for a couple nights a month.
In February 2020, I got the worst flu in years (don’t think it was COVID). The first three days were extra painful with withdrawal headaches. I decided a change was in order. My last coffee was January 31st, 2020. The rest of the process was not predetermined. I tried to follow my body needs and didn’t push to quit with a definite date in mind.
After I recovered from the flu, I switched to black tea for the next several months. I felt physically sluggish and mentally slower.
Black tea was followed by green tea for about two months. My sleep dramatically improved, however still felt lethargic. After green tea, I still didn’t feel ready to stop all together.
Enter jasmine pearl tea. It’s rolled up into a ball and each ball has 1-3 tea leaves. I started using three tea balls for my morning tea. Over the course of three months, I’m down to one tea ball every other day. It’s been a useful tool for measuring caffeine intake. Final quitting day is February 1st, 2021.
The few things I’ve learned along the way:
It was tempting to outline every possible aspect of this challenge – what to drink, when to drink it, how often, when to decrease dosage, what to do in case of a backslide etc. I consciously avoided this for two reasons. One, making a full blown plan feels so satisfying that the actual challenge doesn’t feel compelling anymore, leading me to underperform or give up. And two, I might give up if I backslide so badly that my plan doesn’t account for it. That’s pretty demoralizing.
I still have headaches if I miss my “caffeine window”. But they are far less painful and much more manageable. That’s a win! I sleep so much better now too.
It took 10 years to get to this level of caffeine dependence. Spending one year to unwind this addiction is relatively fast! I felt a lot slower mentally in the first 6 months and still do as I continue to reduce my caffeine. I expect that once I no longer depend on caffeine, my body will pick up the slack.
All in all, This has been another step in discipline and a healthier me.