Becoming a mother slowed me down incredibly, and in a good way. I now spend a lot of my time sitting on the floor singing songs or sitting at a park soaking in the warm rays of the sun. At the same time, since going back to the workforce, I felt that my anxiety level has skyrocketed. Days are simply busier, they start earlier than ever, and they still finish somewhat late. In the middle, that are a lot of things that need to be achieved, or simply done, and when my little love is around, there is a massive grey area where things can go incredibly out of control. The more she grows, the less transportable she is, as she is developing her own character, and she is not afraid to let me know what she wants and when she wants it. While I’m learning to deal with this ever-changing phase of our life, I have found myself needing to send off a project, or study for an exam, while my daughter is sobbing uncontrollably because she doesn’t want to leave the park, let alone be strapped in the car to go back home.
How does my body react to these stimuli? By showering me with anxious feelings.
Anxiety disorders affect 40 million people only in the United States and is the most common mental illness. That’s right, illness, as we are not supposed to feel anxious, although we are taking for granted that clammy hands, racing heartbeats, clouded thoughts are all part of our journey on earth.
Caffeine raises the level of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and is normally activated during a stressful time. 2000 years ago being chased by a tiger was naturally considered stressful. In this day and era, our clever organs recognise being stuck in traffic equally as stressful as becoming someone’s else meal. Poor sleep quality, a diet rich in inflammatory foods, a heavy workload, and an overall polluted environment are all triggers that contribute to a stressful response.
Adding caffeine on top of it all is like pulling the trigger of an already loaded gun.
For all the above reasons, I have decided to give up on one of the things I love the most for a week: Coffee!
I woke up at 5.45 am with the best intention of avoiding coffee for the remainder of the week; my husband turned around in bed and hugged me, while gently whispering in my ear “Coffee?” and I courageously said, “Yes please”.
Which taught me a lot about rule number 1: let your support group know that you are going on a coffee break.
Saying no to a warm black coffee after a mere 3 hours of sleep was like pulling my hairs out: bloody painful, and somewhat useless. But as I have experienced too many anxious thoughts lately, I feel it’s time to give my brain, my heart, and my body a well-deserved rest.
So I made myself a dandelion tea instead and hated every bitterly sip of it.
The rest of the morning was incredibly tough, as it’s impossible to go pass a café without smelling the beautiful aroma of freshly grinded beans. And Sydney is made of cafes’.
I powered through and by mid-afternoon, although my cravings were gone, the headache was powerful and I was in desperate need of a nap. I kept drinking herbal teas and water, and incredibly enough, I made it to the end of the day…alive.
The headache was pretty powerful at waking, and I wasn’t expecting it. This is a sign that my body is really addicted to caffeine, and a few days break can only benefit me. I have noticed there are a few triggers that always send me thinking to my favorite beverage; the smell of the Moka my husband puts on the stove first thing in the morning, seeing people walking around with their take away cup, and the feeling of missing something warm in my hand.
I then compromised with my cravings, and I gave in to a weak decaf cappuccino. The way the barista looked at me put me off completely; I will definitely not place a similar order again.
I think I got this. I woke up, missed my coffee, went for a milky chai (without the caffeine). The day went on eventlessly, without headaches or other weird withdrawals symptoms (such as following strangers holding a cup of coffee). On the other hand, I have noticed that my appetite has slightly increased (which is a great sign), I feel less thirsty, bloated and I don’t experience that nausea that has been my companion for so many mornings. Moreover, I have also started saving money, as I have moved from 2 coffees a day to just one (caffeine free chai).
Although I still have the feeling that I’m incomplete without my favorite beverage, I have also noticed massive improvements.
I woke up without any withdrawal symptoms, I made myself breakfast, and I played with my little one without the urgency to leave the house before 7 am as I needed my daily dose. I instead made myself a cup of tea and enjoyed it thoroughly. Overall, I’m so much calmer than I was only a few days ago, and I’m not experiencing the tiredness and foggy brain I once had.
I think that I have mastered life without coffee. Or at least I have mastered one week in my life without coffee. The anxiety has definitely decreased, the cravings are almost gone, the nausea is a thing of the past (especially in the morning), and my appetite has increased tenfold. This is the longest I have ever gone without drinking coffee. I didn’t even know it was an option…
The week is over, the test is finished.
Will I go back to drinking coffee? Hell yeah! Did I learn something from this experiment? Sure!
I have understood that I was hooked on caffeine, that there is something called moderation, and that one coffee every day or every two days is way more than enough. And unfortunately yes, I have to admit that my mood and gastro intestinal symptoms are somewhat related to my favorite beverage.
Bottom line: can you do motherhood without coffee? Give it a go and let me know.