How Entrepreneurs Can Overcome a Caffeine Habit
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between an occasional coffee at work and a full-blown caffeine habit. And really, what is a work day without a few jolts of coffee?
As a busy entrepreneur, you may frequently rely on coffee and other sources of caffeine to keep you going throughout the day. Do you find that you’re spending a small fortune on lattes, or spending half your day refilling your coffee cup?
Or, perhaps you’re more concerned with the potential cost to your health.
How Bad is a Caffeine Habit?
While there’s nothing wrong with caffeine in moderation, too much of it may be harming your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming more than 500-600 mg of caffeine per day may lead to symptoms like insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, and more.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, or you’ve been feeling more “on-edge” than usual lately, you may want to try kicking your caffeine habit. Self-care isn’t just about massages and mental breaks — it’s also about taking care of your physical health.
In this article, we provide some tips for cutting back on your consumption of coffee, soda, and energy drinks, so you can start feeling better without falling asleep at your desk and compromising your productivity.
Gradually Reduce Your Intake
We don’t recommend going “cold turkey” when it comes to cutting back on your caffeine consumption, since making such a drastic change will only set you up for failure. Trying to shift gears between someone with a coffee subscription into a perfectly hydrated role model who drinks only water and takes vitamins isn’t just difficult — it’s impossible.
In addition, an abrupt change in your caffeine intake can lead to unpleasant symptoms, like headaches, fatigue, and even flu-like nausea. Remember, caffeine is highly addictive. In addition to its stimulating effects easily becoming a crutch, caffeine also floods your brain with dopamine.
Caffeine doesn’t fall under the same classifications as truly addictive drugs, but our body does develop a dependency and it gets grumpy and tired when that supply is cut off.
Instead, reduce your intake gradually. For example, if your caffeine habits put you at four cups of coffee per day, then try going one week with only three cups of coffee per day. Then, cut back to two cups of coffee. Keep going until you’re not drinking any coffee at all if that’s your goal.
Support Your Detox
Did you know that symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can last two to nine days?
As mentioned in the Addiction Center link above, your brain actually changes under a heavy caffeine habit. It develops more adenosine receptors to receive caffeine, in an attempt to dull the effects of the drug. Adenosine is the chemical in your brain that lets you know that you’re tired — caffeine blocks your brain from knowing it’s tired by plugging the adenosine receptors with caffeine molecules.
When the caffeine supply disappears, your brain has too many adenosine receptors without caffeine to fill them. This causes your brain to think you are far more tired than usual — essentially, there are now more places for adenosine to gather.
However, you can take steps to ease your cravings and reduce the effects of any uncomfortable physical symptoms. Above all, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
Many people who rely on caffeine to keep them awake aren’t getting enough sleep, so you should also make sure you’re sleeping well to combat fatigue. Sleep aids like melatonin can help, but you can also up your exercise regimen in the evening to make sure your body is good and ready to hit the sack.
Lastly, withdrawal causes stress. Make sure you’re dealing with your stress in a healthy manner — replacing a caffeine habit with alcohol consumption or other bad habits is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Embrace healthy stress relievers like guided meditation, mindfulness, exercise, soothing music, and surrounding yourself with nature.
Substitute Your Caffeine
Most people who drink a lot of coffee, soda, or energy drinks on a daily basis not only like the caffeine jolt those beverages provide, but they also like the taste of these drinks.
Instead of depriving yourself of your favorite flavors, stymie your caffeine habit by substituting your regular caffeinated drinks with sensible alternatives, like flavored seltzer, caffeine-free soda, decaf coffee, and tea. Of course, water is the healthiest option.
Before you know it, you won’t even be able to comprehend how you were able to drink so much caffeine in the first place. You’ll feel more calm and refreshed. In addition, you’ll be doing your body a favor by avoiding all those caffeinated beverages, which are also often filled with sugar.
If you’re having trouble staying motivated and energized, remember that caffeine isn’t the only option. Especially at work, a simple change of motivational strategy can have a huge effect on you, your employees, and productivity overall.