About a month ago I decided to quit drinking caffeine. After realizing I had PCOS, I read that caffeine can cause problems with your insulin. Which it did, I was always starving after drinking coffee, I was shakey and felt like shit.
I wish I could tell you that I had some trick that made quitting caffeine easy, but I absolutely do not. The first week was fucking TERRIBLE. I was a miserable human being to be around. About 3 days in I could barely get out of bed, my head hurt so bad and I just felt like I was dying. Luckily it was a Sunday. The following few days were no better. Let me remind you that I teach 5th graders, doing that without caffeine felt like signing my own death warrant. Nothing exacerbates a throbbing headache like 27 10-year-olds wanting to constantly talk…at the same time…to you. I almost gave up and started drinking caffeine but I realized I NEVER wanted to experience what I was experiencing again. It was too damn painful.
About a week in, the feeling that I was dying went away. I switched to decaf coffee because I learned that I liked the taste. Sorry, to all of those whom I made fun of for drinking it, I get it now. The taste of coffee is a comfort thing for me.
Now that I have been off caffeine for a month, I swear by it. I actually feel WAY more alert and awake all day than I ever did drinking coffee. I no longer hit that 2pm slump where I start questioning what I’m doing with my life. I also am able to stay up later and read and be a functional human being. I sleep incredibly well. And you know the best part? I don’t ever have to experience that caffeine withdrawal EVER again. That shit was horrible.
Here are a few tips on how to quit caffeine without murdering anyone:
1.) Drink warm lemon in the morning- I don’t know why, but this seems to help with the headache. The mornings I didn’t start this way were really fucking terrible. I know that warm water helps flush your digestive system and the lemon can help with your liver, but drinking warm water in the morning also helps rehydrate your body after a night of not getting water.
2.) Take the Advil- In my crazy mind, I thought I was cheating if I took a substance to dull the head-splitting pain I was experiencing. But for the love of God just take the Advil. I did and it really aided in saving the lives of 27 5th graders…and all the other people I came into contact with that week.
3.) Drink some decaf- Again, I realized it was the taste of coffee that was the thing I enjoyed. I like having a warm cup in the morning and I especially enjoy drinking it on the weekends. This tricked my body into thinking it wasn’t missing out on anything. Plus the great thing about decaf is that I can drink it at 6pm and still sleep at night.
4.) Start this process over a long weekend, or take a week off- Just stay away from people. You are going to be a miserable person so you might as well not make others miserable. Stay home and wallow in your own misery. Rejoin the rest of the population when you feel human again.
5.) Ease yourself off caffeine- I went cold turkey, but you can always slowly decrease your caffeine intake to make it more bearable. Switch to black tea and slowly work your way down to green tea and then make the switch to caffeine-free herbal teas. You’ll probably still have a mild headache but not as intense as the shit I experienced. They also have kits you can buy…kind of like the patch but for caffeine.
Here is what I do promise… it is worth it. I couldn’t imagine it, in fact, I thought I would not be able to function at all without it. I was wrong. I’ve actually become a much more functional human being without caffeine pumping through my veins. It’s one of those little adulthood lies that we are fed even as children. To be an adult you must be busy all the time and you must need caffeine. In reality, you probably just need sleep and some better self-care. We all do.