The choice to quit caffeine can arrive in your mind for many reasons. Perhaps your doctor has told you to cut it out, maybe you suspect it’s giving you anxiety, or it could just be that this socially acceptable drug isn’t having the same energizing effects it once did.
Whatever your reasoning, you may soon discover that giving up caffeine comes with a host of unpleasant side effects, including headaches, fatigue, and even depression. From the importance of seeking support to the surprising power of an aromatherapy oil diffuser, here are six tips for reducing the severity of these nasty withdrawals.
1. Sleep is key
If you’re convinced you can’t nap during the day, you may be about to discover that the only thing holding you back was caffeine. The same is true for those who suffer from insomnia. While it may take your body a bit of time to recalibrate after you cut caffeine out, you should soon find that your sleep improves.
To help things along, follow these sleep hygiene habits:
- Avoid using your phone in bed;
- Hang thicker curtains or use a sleep mask;
- Use a blue-light blocking app or glasses when working at night;
- Get some fresh air and sunshine upon waking;
- Use an aroma diffuser to distribute calming scents like lavender when you’re preparing for sleep.
2. Boost your hydration
Headaches are the most famous side-effect of caffeine withdrawal. Sadly, many people find that painkillers don’t work, and this is due to the nature of the headaches. They result from the return of blood flow to your brain after caffeine had been restricting it. Often, the best thing you can do is focus on hydration rather than painkillers. Adding electrolytes can help. It won’t be an instant cure, but it will give your body what it needs to work through this transition phase faster.
3. Select Your Method
If you don’t have a demanding job and/or you can afford to take some time off, quitting cold turkey is the fastest way to get through withdrawals. The other option is to wean yourself off. Though weaning takes longer, it allows you to side-step many of the withdrawal symptoms, making it ideal for those who can’t afford to be zombified for a week or two.
4. Seek support
Quitting caffeine can be a lonely endeavor. Most of the world is hooked on it, but few people are willing to see their daily consumption as a problem. Though you may not be able to talk to your friends, colleagues, or even your family about your choice to quit caffeine, there are plenty of others out there who are on the same path as you. Reddit’s r/decaf subreddit is a great place to start, and you can also find community support through apps like I Am Sober.
5. Practice patience
As annoying as this may sound, withdrawing from caffeine is an excellent time to cultivate patience. The days will feel like they’re dragging by painfully slowly, and moments of temptation will feel like they’re never going to end. However, it won’t be like this forever. For most people, the worst of the withdrawals are over within two weeks, and though a caffeine-free life takes some getting used to, many people report feeling their sense of childlike wonder return.
Quitting caffeine is tough – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Though it’s consumed worldwide and praised as the fuel of innovation in modern society, caffeine is a drug that doesn’t work for everyone. If it’s time for you to bid the dark drink farewell, the tips above should help. Good luck!