Tips to kick caffeine dependency

Being caffeine-free has its upside too.

Matthaeus Choo
Matthaeus Choo

Published: 8 September 2021, 1:12 PM

There’s really nothing like a good cup of coffee. It’s the perfect pick-me-up in the morning. It tends to be our only companion through long hours of study and work. The health benefits of coffee are extensive too, with studies showing that the high levels of antioxidants and nutrients can help with fat burning and may lower the likelihood of cancer.

Yet, as with all good things, too much caffeine intake can lead to dependence and cause a host of negative side effects, including anxiety, increased blood pressure and sleep issues. Even more alarming are withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, drowsiness and irritability. For those hooked on expensive coffee, the habit can also mean a big hit to wallets.

Some youths recently shared with us their experience with caffeine dependency and their efforts to curb the habit. Here are a few extra pointers for those looking to join them.

1. Weaning off coffee


Consider replacing the coffee in the morning with yoga instead. PHOTO CREDIT: KIKE VEGA VIA UNSPLASH


Although it is perhaps the most straightforward method, looking to gradually cut down on caffeine consumption is definitely easier said than done. The keys to the approach are moderation and keeping in mind that the dependency stems from habit formulation.

Four cups should be cut down to three, then two and eventually one, but keep in mind that the reduction comes at your own pace. 

As with kicking any other habit, what definitely helps is with breaking your routines. If you’re used to having a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, then consider switching things up and have a glass of juice instead. Or you could replace the routine with an even more beneficial one, such as a morning jog or mindfulness exercises. 

2. Going cold turkey


It will be tempting but it might be for the better to let it go. PHOTO CREDIT: EMRE VIA UNSPLASH


Coffee addicts looking for a challenge can consider a complete stoppage. The method is not recommended for all but it does have its benefits. 

The full effects of caffeine withdrawal will most likely be felt, leading to days or even weeks of unproductivity. However, going cold turkey could also prove to be the quickest and most effective way. It’s a method that definitely requires planning. 

Share with loved ones (and perhaps your work supervisor) your intentions to kick the habit. Engage the help of friends you can hang out with to distract yourself from the withdrawal symptoms. It will take two hands to clap so even if the lack of caffeine may make you cranky, just remember to moderate your own behaviour.

3. Consider less potent alternatives


While tea does have lower caffeine content, overconsumption can also lead to the same issues as coffee dependency. PHOTO CREDIT: LUCAS GEORGE WENDT VIA UNSPLASH


The middle ground between the two approaches would be to switch up the intake and consider alternatives. Green Tea, for example, can be considered for its lower caffeine content compared to coffee. Those looking to kick the dependency but don’t want to miss a nice warm cuppa can consider decaffeinated options, which retains several benefits of the drink.

No matter the approach, remember to always keep in mind the reasons why you decided to kick the habit in the first place. 

While there are definitely upsides to drinking coffee, there are an equal number of benefits for being caffeine-free as well, such as better sleep and less jitteriness. For support on your journey, there might also be comfort to be found from the r/decaf subreddit, a community for coffee quitters sharing their own progress, setbacks and triumphs. 

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