I’ve had a long-standing love for coffee. As a mother with young children and little sleep, I relied on coffee to get me started each morning. I relished the times during the day when I could squeeze out a moment to sit down and drink a cup. As someone with ADD, I suspected coffee, a stimulant, was possibly helping my focus and attention during the day, and assumed that my need for 4+ coffees a day related to that.
A little thought in the back of my mind had sometimes prompted me to wonder if the beautiful aroma, the taste and the boost to energy and focus, were worth my addiction and the way my morning caffeine withdrawal hangout felt. Barely able to do anything without that first shot of coffee hitting me, I would grunt, mumble and mope around the house.
Late last year, I got the most horrid gastro and couldn’t keep down coffee for 3 days. When I finally felt better, I realised I’d already passed the worst of the withdrawals. I thought this was my chance to run a little experiment to see how my brain and body worked without coffee. Would my disctractability and struggles following through tasks become worse without a constant stream of caffeine? Could I survive days at home with young children after a few nights sleep without coffee to pick me up?
I’m 4 weeks in to the experiment, and I’ve discovered that - actually caffeine doesn’t seem to have much impact on my focus or attention, and other than a dip around 3pm each day, my energy levels have naturally lifted to compensate for the drop in caffeine stimulant. Shockingly, I’ve turned in to an unrecognisable morning person, waking up earlier wide awake and chirpy. Yikes! I’m generally feeling less anxious in my body too.
Everything would be rosy except for one thing, my days feel a little boring and joy-less. Coffee was something to look for ward to in the morning and throughout the day. It was a ritual for my good days and a friend on hard days.
I’ve started to experiment with new rituals that give me breaks and downtime during the day. First up, meditation in the morning before the kids wake up. Then, a little cup of peppermint tea mid-morning with my children. They love to drink tea so are delighted when I invite them to have a tea party with me. Perhaps a walk in the afternoon might help me through the 3pm slump? I’m not quite there, but I’m hoping that new rituals can help with the sadness of the loss of coffee.
This post isn’t about the perils of coffee. I don’t want to convince you to give up. It’s about the habits we hang on to because we think they’re serving us. Its also not about digging deep and quitting habits that aren’t helpful. I suck at that. But you might like to pay attention to parts of your life that aren’t comfortable or causing joy, and pick a nice easy moment to make a small change experiment. See what happens. Take small steps. Go slow if you need.
If you get gastro, it might not be as bad as you think ;p
Here’s my twins in their best dresses gaming together at this morning’s tea party