Kicking the Caffeine Habit: How to Cope

If you’d rather die than face a day without your Starbuck’s or Red Bull, don’t feel bad. You have a lot of company. Starting the day revved up on caffeine is a daily ritual for millions. Caffeine in moderation can actually be good for your health, but when you down cup after cup it can become problematic. Jitters, nervousness and sleep disruption are just some of the potential hazards of overdoing it. So whether you’re trying to cut down or eliminate it all together there are ways to cope while kicking the caffeine habit.

Take Baby Steps

Going cold turkey on caffeine is a sure-fire way to end up right back on it. Caffeine is a drug. It can be addictive and stopping it cold can lead to withdrawal symptoms like headaches, irritability, anxiety, and fatigue.

Instead of stopping altogether, take baby steps to wean yourself off caffeinated drinks. Instead of getting that large coffee, opt for the next size down. The same goes for sodas and other caffeinated beverages. Keep shrinking those drink sizes. In addition, cut down on the number of drinks per day. If you’re a three-cup a day person, try two. Or use a combination strategy, cutting down both servings and size as you go. Remember—baby steps.

Make Substitutions

Another way to cope with kicking the caffeine habit is to make substitutions. Switch out regular coffee for decaf or try an herbal tea. There are many varieties to choose from. Enjoy the novelty of trying a different kind every day. This applies to other caffeinated beverages too. Try sparkling, flavored or fruit-infused waters.

Most of us turn to caffeine for a pick me up. If substituting a different drink doesn’t cut it, try chewing some gum. It can get the blood and oxygen circulating to your brain. It might just do the trick to help you cope.

Watch Out for Hidden Caffeine

The last thing you want to do when trying to kick the caffeine habit is to reintroduce caffeine. But you may inadvertently be consuming caffeine without even realizing it! Believe it or not, hidden caffeine can be lurking in many of the foods you eat.

Most people know that chocolate has a certain amount of caffeine, but be on the lookout for other items. Non-cola sodas like orange and root beer may contain up to 40 milligrams as much as half a cup of instant coffee. Even some ice creams and breath mints have it. Be smart and check those food labels.

Have a Lifeline

Kicking caffeine is like dealing with any other habit or addiction. It can get tough at times. Be sure to have a lifeline available to help you get over those bumps. Whether it’s a friend to talk to, an inspirational book, or time spent in meditation, having someone or something to turn to can really help you cope.

Photo: Pexels

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