wellness

"I stopped drinking coffee. These are the 4 things I’ve noticed."

I know what you’re thinking. Why the hell would you stop drinking coffee, and then STICK to it? 

Let me explain. 

Coffee is one of my weaknesses. I love the smell and taste of it, and I find it so comforting - like a warm hug in the morning. 

I’ve never been one of those people that drinks five coffees a day, but I'd consistently drink one-to-two.

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It was always a non-negotiable, so embedded in my daily routine that I often felt weird without one.

Me, hugging a coffee like my life depends on it. Image: Supplied. 

Until now.

About two months ago, I decided I wanted to do something to really challenge my self-control. 

I have a habit of taking on small ‘challenges’ to see if I feel better for it - because why not? The last one was to drink three litres of water a day. 

I failed after just three days. 

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Coffee felt easier. When I thought about why I drink coffee, I realised that while I love the taste and smell, I often consume it unconsciously. I wondered how I would feel without that caffeine in my body. 

So I decided to stop drinking it, for at least a month, and see how I went.

Because I’m such a creature of habit, I started by swapping out coffee for another hot drink (I found chai lattes, tea or dandelion tea to be great alternatives). 

These are the key things that I’ve noticed so far.

Image: Giphy. 

1. I feel a whole lot less anxious.

I'm a naturally anxious person. I worry ...a lot. So if there’s ever anything I can do to feel less stressed and worried, I jump at the idea. 

I caught up with a friend of mine who hardly ever drinks coffee, and she was talking about a particularly hectic day at work before a date. 

She’d decided to have a coffee amongst her fluster to get a million things done. She said she was so surprised by how jittery and anxious it made her feel, she almost didn’t go on her date. 

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I’d never experienced this, but it got me thinking about my own anxiety. This was one of the major motivations for me to trial quitting coffee. If it makes me less anxious, then I'm in. 

Fast forward two months, and one of the major things I’ve noticed is that on the whole I feel a lot calmer.

Don’t get me wrong, I still worry. But overall, I don’t get that heart-rate-rising, hot-flushed anxiety that I often would before. I’m not saying this is only because of the coffee, but I have definitely found it’s helped.

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2. I sleep better.

I have never been one of those people that ‘needs’ coffee to wake up - I felt like the caffeine didn’t do much to keep me awake (which often frustrated me, to be honest). 

I could drink a coffee late in the afternoon and not really notice a difference. So I never really thought that when I stopped drinking it, I would sleep better. But here we are!

I'm naturally a very light sleeper. I wake up at the drop of a hat - even the slightest noise outside can stir me.

I've slept like this for as long as I can remember. In the past few months however, I feel like my quality of sleep has shifted. I'm getting more ‘deep’ sleep, and I'm less likely to wake up so quickly. And the only change I’ve made is the coffee. 

3. I’m more hydrated. 

I suck at drinking water. No matter how hard I try to set myself a goal, I often get to the end of day having only sipped on one mere cup…

Something a nutritionist told me a long time ago was that for every cup of coffee (or other caffeinated beverage) you drink, you need to down one extra cup of water to ensure you're getting the recommended amount of H2O. 

Hmmm. I’m over here struggling to drink even a few cups of water a day… throw in a coffee or two and I’m almost back to zero. 

Now that I’ve stopped drinking coffee, I've noticed that I feel more hydrated. My skin isn’t as dry (which I never really expected) and I don’t get headaches nearly as often. I’ll take it as a small win. 

4. The stigma is real.

One of the main things I’ve noticed is how shocked people are when I tell them I don’t drink coffee anymore. It’s such an embedded habit in society that I'm 'unusual' for not drinking it. 

I’ve received lots of confused looks - from fellow coffee-loving friends, family and colleagues. 

The other thing that regularly happens is that lots of people comment about how ‘boring’ it must be. But honestly, I haven’t found it boring at all. 

I still go out to ‘coffee’ with friends, and just order a tea. It doesn’t make me any less interesting or exciting, and if anything it feels good that I don’t have to rely on it anymore. 

Two months down, and only one small slip-up (I blame day drinking), and I actually feel great. 

I don’t think I'll go back to drinking coffee regularly ever again… and that's a big call!

Read more from Lily: 

'I've been meditating every day for 2 years. Here's what it's actually changed for me.'
What's in my trolley: A 'flexitarian' couple share their $200 grocery shop.

Have you given up coffee? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Supplied.