Waking up and brewing a pot of coffee to jumpstart the day is a major part of many people’s morning routines. Unfortunately, not everyone can drink coffee without experiencing negative side effects. Caffeine can exacerbate insomnia and anxiety in some people, and the high acidity can pose a problem for people with heartburn.
If you’ve been advised by a medical professional to quit coffee or are just looking to cut back on your own, know that you’re in for a difficult battle. Although it won’t be easy to fill the void in your daily routine left by coffee, armed with the tips and tricks in this article, you’ll be able to quit much more easily. Are you ready to learn how to quit coffee? Let’s get started!
How to Quit Coffee in 4 Steps:
1. Have a Plan
This first tip isn’t specific to quitting coffee, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Whenever you have a goal, you want to achieve – like quitting coffee – you need a plan. It doesn’t have to be a complicated plan, but it should be concrete. As you read this article, think about which concepts appeal the most to you and put them together into your own personalized plan.
Writing down your plan is important. It makes the ideas tangible and makes them seem more serious. Write your goal and plan to achieve it on a piece of paper and leave it on your desk. You could also set a reminder for every morning on your phone. Doing these simple preparations will help you keep yourself accountable and motivated.
2. Slowly Wean Yourself Off It
Caffeine is an addictive substance, and if you quit cold turkey, you will feel the negative effects associated with withdrawal. Headaches, lethargy, and general fogginess are all symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine. These can be rather unpleasant side effects of quitting coffee, but luckily there are ways to lessen their intensity.
One great option? Switching to decaf. Decaffeinated coffee has a tiny amount of caffeine — meaning you won’t experience caffeine side effects.
If you don’t have an urgent need to quit coffee, you can start by reducing the amount of coffee you drink by a little each day or every few days. Some ideas to work with are using less coffee or more water when you brew, making a half cup and adding more milk, or drinking fewer cups if you typically have more than one cup per day. The slower you go, the easier it will be.
Unfortunately, people who need to quit due to medical necessity don’t have this luxury. For those of you that fall into this category, we have some other ideas.
3. Switch to Tea
This might not be an option for you if caffeine has been blacklisted from your diet, but it’s a great option for everyone else. Most tea has less caffeine than coffee, and some teas – like green tea and white tea – have less than a tenth of the caffeine that coffee does. Black tea has the most caffeine, but it’s still not as much as even the weakest coffee.
Besides having less caffeine, drinking tea in the morning also makes your morning feel less empty. A large part of the struggle to quit coffee comes from psychological factors. Coffee is a comforting drink for many people, and without their morning cup of joe to sit and read the news with, they’re left with a hole that needs to be filled. If you slot tea into that void, your mornings are basically unchanged. Don’t underestimate the impact of habit on quitting coffee. It can be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome.
4. Change your routine
So, what do you do if tea is also out of the question? We recommend changing your morning habits entirely if you can. If you find it difficult to quit coffee, changing your morning schedule entirely can go a long way towards helping you kick your coffee habit for good.
Your brain is used to a certain sequence of events happening every morning, and to change that expectation, you need to give it something else to do besides focusing on how much you’d love a cup of coffee right about now. A popular option is to squeeze in some exercise when you normally would brew and drink your coffee. Exercise has similar energizing effects – which can help ease the loss of caffeine – and you won’t be able to think about coffee while you’re focusing on your workout.
It doesn’t have to be an intense training session either. Going for a brisk walk is a relaxing way to start the day, and, as an added bonus, you’ll be out of the house and away from the environment you associate with coffee. Listening to music or a podcast while you walk can also help keep your mind off of coffee.
Exercise isn’t the only option. Doing a crossword or jigsaw puzzle, playing a game you enjoy, or really anything that engages your brain is a great choice. The only rule is to choose something you enjoy doing. An activity you look forward to acts as a reward and a distraction from the coffee – and caffeine – your body is missing.
We hope this article has given you some ideas for how you can quit coffee – or how to quit caffeine more specifically – and helped you put them together to make a custom plan. With dedication and a careful plan of attack, you can reduce or eliminate your coffee intake for good. It won’t be easy, but you can do it!
Featured Image: Gustavo Frazao, Shutterstock