The process of how to wake up without coffee isn’t always easy (or successful for that matter) if you’re just starting out waking up early – especially if you’ve been relying on caffeine for years on end. I understand how difficult it can be to go sans coffee because I used to be an avid caffeine fan.
My favorite way to wake up without coffee is to gradually ditch coffee completely (more on that below.) My second favorite way is to distract myself with such a fun, motivating morning routine that I forget all about the coffee. Easier said than done, I know, but at least try it so you can see if it helps.
Reasons to Avoid Caffeine
People have many valid reasons for drinking coffee (the jolt of energy, the smell, the social aspect…), but what about reasons for the opposite? I didn’t realize how invasive caffeine was in my life until I hit rock bottom with depression and anxiety and found myself reaching for it multiple times a day. I was a slave to caffeine. How sad is that?
While gradually reducing my caffeine intake down to 0 and then detoxing from it completely for 30 days straight, I powered through a hellish two-week-long period of withdrawal symptoms (most of which I fought with a nap and an Ibuprofen.)
Then a miracle happened. I was able to function as a normal person again sans caffeine. Actually, after the withdrawal symptoms went away, I started functioning better than ever. I’ve never had so much energy. My depression, anxiety, and sleep issues vanished as well. Ditching caffeine turned me into a morning person!
The only minor issue was that I found myself reaching for a warm, non-water drink out of habit, so I settled on non-caffeinated herbal tea. Sometimes I drink warm lemon water in the morning, too.
Here are my reasons for avoiding caffeine; hopefully they will convince you to phase out your caffeine consumption:
Caffeine is a Drug
Coffee, and all caffeinated foods and beverages, have many of the characteristics of a drug. Personally, I don’t like the thought of being addicted to anything.
Have you ever heard yourself desperately muttering first thing in the morning, “Mustttttt haveeeee coffeeeeeeeeee…” as you stumble to the coffee pot? Have you ever felt the withdrawal effects kick in when you missed your morning coffee? Are you irritable until you get your morning dose of coffee?
When I started thinking about caffeine in that way, it became easy for me to phase it out of my life. I now only drink green tea very occasionally and only early in the day when I do drink it. I drink it so occasionally, in fact, that I don’t experience any withdrawal symptoms the next day when I go back to avoiding caffeine.
Caffeine Can Get Expensive
The thing about caffeine is that it works great… at first. Over time, you start to need more and more of it just to be equally effective as it was in the beginning (another reason it’s a drug, btw.) Because you have to consume more and more of it, it starts to become expensive – even if you brew at home. Who needs that extra expense?
To help gain perspective on just how expensive your caffeine habit is, prior to quitting, I recommend you keep track of how much you spend on coffee (or tea) at the supermarket, Starbucks, the local coffee shop, or wherever you purchase yours. Add it up for the month and look at the actual number.
When you’re caffeine-free, you’ll not only have more energy and feel better, you’ll also be saving that amount you calculated. I’m sure you can think of something better to spend that money on.
Make It Difficult to Get Coffee
In the beginning, you’re going to be weak and it will be easy to say you’re going to “just have this one coffee and start tomorrow.” We all know that tomorrow turns into the next day… then into the next day. Tomorrow never happens, so don’t kid yourself.
Avoid Coffee Like the Plague
After you have weaned yourself down to zero cups of coffee or decided to go cold turkey (you brave soul!), make it incredibly difficult to make or buy coffee. Get rid of your coffee maker if you brew coffee at home. If you stop at a coffee shop on the way to work, change your driving route so you’re not tempted.
What to Do At Work
Tell everyone at work that you quit drinking coffee so they can help hold you accountable. At the very least, they will make an effort to not offer you any coffee.
Aside from water, most workplaces don’t supply non-caffeinated drinks. Coffee is standard, so you have to come to work prepared. Bring your own herbal tea or any other non-caffeinated drinks to work with you. Make sure you are stocked up and enjoy the drinks you bought.
Distract Yourself with Fun
Kids say that fun comes highly recommended, and I have to agree. Adults have way too little fun in their lives. With all the responsibilities we have as adults, it’s difficult to make time for fun, but fun is going to be your ally if your goal is to wake up and face the day without coffee. Kids don’t need coffee, now do they?
If you’re getting up early and giving yourself ample time to partake in some Me Time before work, then this is the perfect time to make Me Time fun. Take caffeine out of the equation and distract yourself.
Ways to Distract Yourself from Coffee
There are a plethora of ways to distract yourself from coffee with a fun morning routine.
- My absolute favorite distraction is exercise. Any exercise will do the job – high-impact or low-impact, it doesn’t matter. In the early morning, one of the most effective things you can do to wake yourself up without coffee is going outside to walk, run, practice tai chi, or do yoga. The combination of getting fresh air, seeing the beautiful sunrise, and getting your body moving can work miracles for energy levels and your outlook on life.
- Whipping up a delicious breakfast at home while listening to music or an audiobook is also an effective distraction. You will be so focused on prepping the food that you won’t miss the coffee. Pour yourself some herbal tea, orange juice, or any other caffeine-free drink and you’re golden.
- If you’ve been caffeine-free for a while and can handle the obvious temptation, another great distraction is going out to a diner or other restaurant to treat yourself to breakfast. Order orange juice and smile when you see everyone around you sucking down coffee like there’s no tomorrow. Those caffeine slaves don’t know what they’re missing. 🙂
- Get an accountability partner who also wants to quit drinking coffee and vow to keep each other in check in the morning. Make that person part of your morning routine. A spouse or roommate is an ideal candidate, but anyone will do as long as they’re also serious about quitting. If you don’t live together, you can meet up in the morning to do something else, text, chat on the phone, whatever works. Having another person holding you accountable is a powerful way to accomplish your goal of waking of without coffee.
- Really, anything that is fun to you is going to be an effective distraction from coffee. Is there any other guilty pleasure you usually don’t have time for? Make time for it when you wake up and you’ll forget all about coffee.
Why Distraction Works to Curb Your Coffee Addiction
After phasing out coffee and detoxing for a month, a lot of people would be tempted to start up the caffeine habit again, but distraction allows you to replace a bad habit (caffeine) with a good or at minimum, better habit (cooking breakfast, going for a brisk morning walk.) If you make distraction part of your regular morning routine, it will eventually make you abandon the desire for coffee when you wake up and you won’t get tempted when people around you are drinking it. People around you are probably not going to stop drinking coffee or tea, so you have to learn to cope with that reality and not fall victim to it.
Stress, boredom, and outside influences can often be the source of a bad habit, and distraction greatly reduces the possibility of giving in to the bad habit. A morning distraction routine gives you a plan of action that is fun, relaxing, energizing, or whatever you choose to make it. Whatever you do choose to do when you wake up, just make sure you enjoy it.