Caffeine is strongly habit forming, and regular consumption creates a dependency in your brain. Naturally, if you choose to give up this drug, there will be withdrawal symptoms that come along with this. They can range from mild to extremely severe, depending on the amount you usually ingest on a daily basis. Whether you go cold turkey or slowly wean yourself off, these tips will help soothe your symptoms and make the transition less unpleasant.
The withdrawal headaches are inevitable. Most people discontinuing the use of caffeine experience a crushing pressure headache accompanied by brain fog. These symptoms usually last about a week. Dosing yourself with headache medication will help you to get past this initially debilitating symptom. Be sure to choose a pain reliever that is caffeine-free to avoid delaying your progress.
Alertness is one of the perks of caffeine that makes it so popular. Unfortunately, once you give up caffeine, this alertness not only disappears, but it also is replaced with excessive fatigue as your brain chemicals regains their balance. Not just a case of being slightly more tired, this symptom manifests as the inability to stay awake. It can be difficult to maintain your normal daily routine in the face of this exhaustion. Fight the urge to indulge in a cup of coffee and instead try to catch catnaps throughout the day. If you have the luxury of heading to bed every time you feel your lids closing, even better. Sleeping off this symptom is the best cure.
Up Your Intake of Vitamins and Whole Foods
Naps aren’t the only defense against withdrawal fatigue. You can boost your energy naturally through a healthy diet. Giving up caffeine and improving your diet require you to make a lot of changes in short order, but the changes don’t have to be drastic. A daily multivitamin and a few additional vegetables at every meal are all that you need to gain some extra energy to push you through the workday.
Indulge With Warm Baths
The first week of withdrawals is by far the worst. Don’t be afraid to baby yourself with activities you find soothing. A warm bath is the perfect way to relax, and the steam will temporarily ease the headaches and sore muscles that accompany the loss of caffeine. If baths aren’t your thing, try watching your favorite television show with a bowl of hot water laced with your favorite essential oil. The effects will be similar.
Getting intimate may be the last thing you feel like doing when your body is screaming for another dose of caffeine, but this is one of the best natural remedies for most of the symptoms that go along with withdrawals. Sex floods your brain with feel-good chemicals that ease headaches, soreness, irritability, and cravings. You are probably already logging a lot more hours in bed, so why not multitask?
Make a Cup of Tea
One of the withdrawal symptoms that many people find the most frightening are the heart palpitations, although they usually are not dangerous. Herbal teas such as peppermint or chamomile have soothing properties that slow down your heart rate and allow you to relax. Additionally, if one of the features you loved about coffee was the ritual of unwinding with a mug of hot liquid, this can be the perfect caffeine-free replacement.
You are going to be grumpy and irrational during the initial stages of coming off caffeine. It can help tremendously to take notes about your symptoms and the way you feel. If you are tempted to have a soda or feel you are not improving, you can look back at your notes and see just how much progress you have made.
Dragging yourself off the couch to hit the gym may feel like a Herculean effort, but the increased heart rate and blood flow from a good cardio workout may be the closest substitute for a quad latte you can get outside the coffee shop. Work out for at least half an hour a day to greatly reduce your withdrawal symptoms.
In addition to everything else, remember to be gentle with yourself. Caffeine withdrawal is a real condition that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V), the psychologist’s bible. Be sure to avoid scheduling too many social activities or work projects. You should feel human again in a couple of weeks and back to normal within 30 days. Stay strong and fight the good fight.