Quitting Coffee: The Guide (Part 3)

Quitting coffee is the most popular article on my website. This is the big "how to" appendix to help you in your quest. This is part 3, dealing with the first month of your quitting caffeine journey.

Quitting Coffee: Month 1

If you can get through the first week unscathed, you may be up for some smooth sailing. Then again, one of the toughest things to deal with is the potential of feeling like a zombie. That first week you are full of motivation, spit, vinegar, and perhaps some vague feeling of what caffeine used to be like in the body. While the sleep you are getting is still improving, the big hurdle to jump over in the first month is not taking any drugs (coffee) for your tiredness.

When I was at Starbucks in my first month of anti-caffeine, it was easy to tell that the world's quickest solution for sleepiness is a cup of the old joe. If I ever told any co-workers or customers that I was feeling tired, the first thing I heard was, "Well, why don't you have some coffee? It's right there." When you're tired, it's hard to make a good judgment call. Sometimes hearing something as simple as, "reach over to your right, grab a cup, and drink" make you just want to get it over with. In our culture right now, being sleepy just means that you haven't had enough coffee. One of the reasons I'm writing these articles is to change that phenomenon.

How can you keep from being tired? To know the answer to that question you need to understand why you're sleepy. The biggest possibility is that you aren't getting enough sleep. Very few people do. The quickest and easiest remedy for that is to get some friggin' sleep :). Marci Shimoff, the author of "Happy for No Reason" once consulted a sleep guru who said that three nights in a row of going to sleep at 9 PM can solve a whole lot of health problems. It's not likely that you will do that and it is distinctly possible that reading this paragraph will not get you to bed any earlier.

What else causes this problem? A lack of blood circulation. If you don't get the blood pumping it is going to be hard to get oxygen to your brain for thinking and surviving optimally. You can improve circulation using several different methods. Exercise is the most important, but it should be balanced with a calming breathing practice like yoga or qi gong. These Eastern methods can improve circulation and health by slowing down instead of speeding up. One of the reasons so many marathoners and weight lifters get injured (despite their impeccable physique) is because they haven't done a calming/cooling exercise to relax out the great stress they've put upon themselves. Add exercise and a calming practice to your day and you will feel better rested without any caffeine to speak of.

Perhaps you're just bored! When you have a lot of motivation to do something, like direct a movie or finish a big project, you might feel like you need about two hours of sleep (you should still try to get more despite this feeling ;)). This is because you have a big distinct purpose and your subconscious is feeding you with all sorts of energy that seemingly comes out of nowhere. If you are in a boring job that you don't like, no amount of coffee, sleep, or exercise is going to keep you from yawning every few minutes. One of the reasons you should be quitting coffee is because it helps you to be more conscious of what is going on in your life. A reader of this blog once wrote me, saying that coffee was helping him to suppress his feelings. Maybe, leaving the coffee out for a month will make you realize that it's time to move toward a job that you're more passionate about. Passion will lead to being alert. Boredom leads to a nap :).

Your first month of being quitting coffee will be a breeze if you can get enough sleep, exercise (both fast and slow), and focus on things that you are passionate about. Keeping these things in mind can extend your caffeine quitting essentially forever. There are a few things to keep in mind, however, about making your new lifestyle a year-long habit.

Up Next: Quitting Coffee: The Guide (Part 4: The Future)

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