A Month Without Caffeine
It's been one month since I quit caffeine, and the impact on my physical and mental well-being has been surprising and unexpected. Quitting coffee was not on my agenda, nor would I ever have considered the change was something I needed, but the positive effects have been profound!
It wasn't until this detox that I reflected and realized I had been consuming caffeine since I was five years old! It is not uncommon in Australian culture to have black tea with milk during childhood. Come to think of it, sipping on a cuppa has been my longest-standing ritual, bringing me a sense of comfort; letting go of this has not been easy.
I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was 17 years old after joining the army, when I noticed the people who drank coffee went for lots of coffee breaks, so I joined in. At first, I didn’t enjoy the taste; we were drinking instant coffee, but it didn’t take long before I joined the 75% of Australians that enjoyed 1-3 cups of coffee per day.
Australia has a very distinct coffee culture, with espresso machines in every café and a plethora of popular beverages such as flat whites, lattes, cappuccinos, and long blacks being the most popular drinks. Melbourne is best known for its bustling cafés and being the ‘coffee capital of the world’. It doesn’t matter where you go in Australia; you are guaranteed to find a great café with a talented barista at any spot. Cafés are a daily ritual and popular meeting spot for many. ‘Going for coffee’ has been the highlight of my day for many years.
I’ve always maintained that ‘caffeine doesn’t affect me’. I don’t get the buzz, and I can drink it at any time, no issues. I’ve recently come to learn; this is false. What I now know is that my nervous system was operating at a heightened state for almost three decades, and I didn’t know any different.
The wake-up call came as I prepared for a retreat that required a caffeine-free diet.
The first 1-2 days were brutal - migraines, nausea, blurred vision, light sensitivity, body aches, and shaking. Caffeine withdrawals are real! After a few days, this tapered off, and I started to settle into my caffeine-free body.
Fast forward one month, and here’s what’s changed:
Restful Sleep: My sleep has improved dramatically.
Relief from Physical Tension: Teeth clenching, jaw, TMJ, and neck issues have ceased after two decades.
Mental Calmness: My mind no longer races; I've discovered stillness and peace.
Breaking the Hyper-Doing Cycle: The incessant need for the next task or project has faded.
Freedom from Overstimulation: No more relentless seeking of mental stimulation through devices and social media.
Embrace the Pause: I’ve allowed myself to enjoy the present moment, press pause on the caffeine-induced chaos of my mind, and settle into a gentler rhythm within my nervous system.
Breaking up with caffeine, my oldest and dearest habit, was not easy. However, finding substitutes made the transition smoother:
Home-made Caffeine-Free Masala Chai: A blend of cloves, pepper, green cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, and fresh ginger juice, simmered to perfection.
Home-made Golden Latte Mix: A concoction of turmeric, ashwagandha, cacao, cinnamon, a mushroom blend (lions mane, chaga, turkey tail, shiitake, mesima, and poria cocos), fresh ginger juice, and optional honey.
Shiro Miso: A warm cup, recommended by a dear friend Sara.
Quitting caffeine wasn't in my plans just five weeks ago, but the positive impact on my life is immeasurable. The purification and upgrade to my well-being are changes I never anticipated.
If you're contemplating a change in habits, whether it's caffeine or another challenge, know that you don't have to face it alone. Seeking help is a powerful step toward transformation. As a somatic therapy and compassionate inquiry practitioner, I'm here to support you on your journey to kick any habit that no longer serves you.
Embrace the change; you never know what could be possible for you!