Coffee. Full stop. That’s it, that’s all you need. Right? You wake up in the morning with your mind on coffee and coffee alone. While coffee is an incredible gift to mankind that I enjoy indulging in every now and again, I quickly learned how it was hurting me more than it was helping me and have since learned to wake up without it. It all began when I started working for a local coffee shop.
Sometimes regular’s at the coffee shop would ask me how I was able to function before the sun. Had they looked around? Had they smelled the enticing aroma of a third-wave, craft coffee shop that roasts their beans down the street and works direct-trade with their coffee farmers to bring the right harvest to market? Had they seen the pure gold that is known as the espresso machine intentionally dented to meet the scruffy-bearded, beanie wearing hipster that would always ask for a single-origin pour over with a 1:14 ratio? It didn’t seem like they had. Surely a place this luxurious would provide the best cup. In fact, it did, and I fell for it with every shift I worked.
Look, I get it! That cold brew while you study for the GRE or the mocha you have with friends is irresistible, I know (see aforementioned coffee shop ideal).
I digress again.
Coffee is delicious and I am not the only one to discover this tried and true fact. In fact, coffee is this earth’s number one beverage. This traditional, familial, and communal drink has been digging its caffeinated claws into mankind for many a century. It is an easily accessible, legal stimulant. It can be brewed with a siphon, fine-tuned in a Hario 65 pour over, pressed through a machine, or sprinkled into desserts for your convenience. It can be everything you’ve ever wanted and more.
Coffee is a mild stimulant to the central nervous system, helping you improve your mental clarity and concentration. What a magic trick! However, continuous caffeine consumption can cause dependence and withdrawals. Therein lies the double-edged sword; coffee is both delicious and addicting.
While coffee increased my mental clarity and focus, it also allowed me to maintain a work-life balance that was just not possible without it. When I began to feel the adverse reactions of coffee and started to cut it out, I quickly noticed how unsustainable my workload was. With coffee I was working two jobs and running a business. My biggest qualm was that coffee allowed me to ignore my body’s request for rest, or my natural energy rhythms. Coffee allowed me to continue keeping up with a life that was exhausting me, which was causing me to rely more on caffeine.
If you resonate with this, are struggling with adrenal fatigue, or you have an allergy to caffeine, consider these tips I’ve used to slow down on coffee consumption and wake up without my beloved cup of joe. There are so many ways you can put some morning pep in your step.
You know, I know, we all know that decaf isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. It reminds me how tender my pallet is, and I’m always embarrassed when the mustached-baristas begrudgingly pull it out from the dusty shelf. The truth is, it still makes a great latte, and when I don’t want the caffeine but need the emotional support of a cappuccino to get me through the day, decaf is my knight and shining armor.
Drink Water When You Wake Up
I know, I know. It doesn’t sound like the most inviting drink to consume after expecting coffee. But what if I told you that your liver has spent the whole night working hard to rid your body of toxins, without consuming any water for (fill in the amount of hours you sleep a night) hours? Now imagine that you immediately dehydrate your body more with caffeine? I bet you are thirsty just reading this. Keep in mind, the less you depend on caffeine, the more you can tap into those natural energy rhythms. I did it all the way through college, and you can too!
Have an Orgasm
Set your alarm a little bit earlier because engaging in consensual sexual activity with your partner or with yourself in the morning can definitely wake you up. If you happen to cross the finish line with an orgasmic finale, your body releases oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine so once you are ready to get dressed and prepare for the day, you’ll be less stressed, connected, and ready to cease the day.
Yoga + Stretching
I am not just saying this because I am a millennial-hippie. Get your body moving in a gentle way. Yoga and stretching are great ways to move without maxing out your nervous system. These slow and gentle ways of moving actually give your body energy, allowing you to ease into the day without jolting it with caffeine and negating your natural energy.
Have Something You Are Looking Forward To
There is something to be said about waking up and looking forward to a cup of coffee. Switch up your routine but trade in the reward. Whether it’s a podcast you’re looking forward to, a hearty and delicious breakfast, or a walk as the sun rises, get creative and beckon yourself to begin your day.
This one is simple and helpful. Hop in the shower, make it a hot shower that allows you to relax and wake up. Breathe deeply and meditatively and set your intentions for the day.
Go for a Walk
Walking is similar to yoga in that it gives your body energy without over exhausting it with extensive movement. Walk a scenic trail or meet a friend to catch up as you walk. Do a lap around your neighborhood while you listen to your podcast or just meditate as you walk. Get your body moving and your mind beginning with a clear space and intentionality.
Try a Coffee Alternative
There are some amazing coffee alternatives that are medicinal in nature and so, so comforting. You can opt for a simple mushroom latte, or the classic golden milk latte that is popping up in coffee shops. This is a great way to have something to look forward to in the morning that is warm, and *drum roll please,* doesn’t have caffeine.
Listen, coffee is good. It’s that simple. But sometimes we discover that it isn’t serving us like it used to. For those of us who can’t consume fancy bean water like before, enjoy a relaxing morning as you move, drink water, do something inviting and settle into your natural energy rhythms.