How Coffee was Killing My Career and What I Did
On an average day I used to consume about 8 to 10 shots of strong espresso over the span of an 8-hour work shift. Yes, that’s how much I loved coffee for it refreshed and energized me and made my mind pop with all the bright ideas that my boss so loved. Slowly I noticed that my caffeine high was also altering other things in my system – I started sleeping much lesser, almost becoming an insomniac, skipping breakfast became a routine, my blood pressure rose, and the worst of all – I started slacking off at work. The very reason I loved my cuppa – that I could stay awake and charged up to do more work, was now upturned.
I quit caffeine. Cold turkey. Not an easy decision to make, knowing all the withdrawal symptoms that could come with it. But I made a very educated plan after lots of research to help me survive the phase and well after that. A lifestyle change. After a year of being free from caffeine of any sort with no slips, here’s I would like to share my tried and tested list of 5 coffee alternatives that can get you the same and most times better results.
#1 High energy diet: Feeling lethargic after a meal is common and science backs it too. So should you starve yourself to stay productive? Obviously not. Sugary foods and caffeine give you a momentary high followed by a sharp crash. What you should consume instead is an energy packed diet comprising of superfoods such as eggs, avocado, carrots, spinach, oranges, beans, lentils, sprouts, nuts like almonds, walnuts, etc. It is said that having an apple early in the morning will get you started for the day better than a cup of coffee. The idea is to eat high-fibre, high-protein, and iron rich foods that help reduce stress and keep fatigue at bay.
#2 H20: Up to 60% of our body is made up of water and it is what the blood uses to channelize nutrients and oxygen to every body part including the brain. Water also lubricates the joints and flushes toxins out of our system. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of fatigue and it can also lead to heart palpitations and even fainting. Studies show that even 1-2% loss of water from the body is enough to result in a negative mood and poor physical performance.
#3 Sunshine: When you find yourself dragging through work, leave your desk and go out for a walk. Studies have found that sunshine helps accelerate reaction times, improves alertness by minimizing attention lapses, reduces fatigue, and generally makes people feel happy. What’s more – the rays of the sun also help regulate our bodies’ circadian rhythms – so we sleep and wake up on time and are more likely to follow a schedule throughout the day.
#4 Deep breathing: How many times have you experienced that when you are about to burst into an argument and if you happen to take a deep breath before starting off, the argument turns out less severe, more logical, and you are calmer through and after the episode? Well, if you haven’t already caught on the idea of deep breathing to unleash a calmer, more productive self, it’s never too late to start. Deep breathing helps shuttle oxygen to body parts to rejuvenate your energies, improves immunity with regular practice, and keeps stress and anxiety away.
#5 Shun the screen: Heard of computer vision syndrome? Statistics reveal that 95% of Americans are at risk of the same because of staring at their screens for a major part of their waking up time. Fixing your gaze constantly at one object for prolonged periods of time can tire your eyes to the point of making it a struggle to keep them open. If you experience dryness of the eyes/excessive watering, redness, blurred vision, headaches, or pain in the shoulder and neck region – you may be a victim of the computer vision syndrome. The solution? Get yourself examined by an eye specialist, blink regularly, upgrade to a better computer screen, and don’t forget to look away from it every 20 minutes. Most importantly, take a brisk walk, even if it’s around your office, at least every few hours.
Whether you get your caffeine-like-high from taking a nap, listening to music, exercising, or by doing any of the above things that I do, make sure you do it and ditch that cuppa. Excess of coffee can potentially harm your career, health, and surprisingly your love life too. Time to show yourself some love with coffee alternatives!