Quitting Coffee: The Guide (Part 2)
Quitting coffee the original article was one of the most popular on my website. I decided to do a big "how to" guide. This is part 2, dealing with the first week of your quitting caffeine journey.
Quitting Coffee: Week 1
For some people, the first couple of days are the worst. For them, the end of the first week is a great assertion that getting coffee out of your life was an amazing idea that will improve your sleep and health. Unfortunately, this is not everybody as all of our brains are different. Some people will react in such a way that their symptoms feel worse as the first week goes on.
This is the time to keep in mind that there is "withdrawal" with "symptoms" involved. Caffeine is a drug that has been affecting your brain. This is a bad thing! That means that the problems you are experiencing during your first week of caffeinated abstinence are showing you how different your brain has been made from a normally functioning brain. You must get through this crappy period in order to return your brain back to normal. Focus on this as you are experiencing symptoms. You are essentially a recovering drug addict and you need to get through the tough stuff to get healthy again.
The temptations discussed in the Day 1 article will continue to occur throughout the week. Don't allow them to wear you down little by little. After each time you smell coffee or see someone drinking it and enjoying it, affirm to yourself why you are quitting. Say something positive and confident along the lines of, "I am quitting coffee because I know that I will be a happier and healthier person." As you are doing it, take a deep breath or two until some of the pressure to drink coffee again goes away. This is akin to hitting a reset button. It doesn't matter how many times you have to hit this "reset button," what's important is that you don't let these temptations bring down your will power without you putting up a fight.
Often, during the first week, you will experience your first "cornering" experience. This happens all the time with people quitting cigarettes, fatty foods, or Facebook (working on that addiction myself :) ). You may find yourself in a situation where you are boxed in at the office, a coffee shop, or at home with people who are drinking coffee. These people will inevitably offer you a cup. You are cornered. This situation calls for the use of extreme will power as you can't simply avoid it, you actually have to say no.
Plan for this to happen. Give yourself a course of action and something that you are going to say. Play out the situation in your head or on a piece of paper. If it doesn't go exactly as planned, that's perfectly Ok, just do the best that you can. Try to approach the situation with humor and a good attitude. I know that it will be tough. Caffeine is a natural endorphin booster, and when you stop caffeine you are literally taking away some of the chemically-altered happiness in your body. Exercising and stretching throughout the day may be able to keep you from feeling grumpy while you are adjusting.
Kudos to you if you can get through that first week. It's extremely tough to avoid all the temptation, but if you can use positive affirmations, keep in mind that these symptoms are a reason to continue (not to stop) and plan out an escape plan if you're cornered, you should be able to pass the test with flying colors. It should get easier from here on out, but there are some tips and tricks to make sure you stay caffeine free.
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