I didn't like coffee for a long time. I had a coffee maker in college purely for it's use during all-nighters a couple times per semester. (For all you non-procrastinators, an all-nighter is the 12-24 hours before a deadline when a student starts and finishes an entire month/unit/semester's worth of work with breaks only to pee and drink more coffee.) After college, I moved to Denver and started my teaching career. The first two years, I was concurrently teaching and getting my M.A. and daily had about 20 hours of work to do in 16. So, I started drinking coffee and sleeping less.
|Last full-caff latte, last weekend.|
It also was a social staple. There is nothing more delightful than getting coffee with girlfriends and chatting an afternoon away. Ok, I have a confession. Before a date, a party, or some other event where I was really hoping to impress someone...I had to have coffee. I didn't feel like "just me" would be fun enough, quick-witted enough, or chipper enough. I wasn't whole till I had that cup or two in me. Yeah. Crutches.
Sadly, along with all the beautiful amaze-ocity that is caffeine...there is a down side. Most my life, I took sleeping for granted. I fell asleep easily, slept soundly, and woke up generally refreshed. Once coffee (and stress and sleep deprivation) became a staple in my life, sleep was this fleeting whisp of a dream that I couldn't quite capture. It often takes hours for me to get to sleep and it is normal for me to wake up 5-10 times a night for no apparent reason. I would get so desperate at times, that I would take Nyquil or herbal aids to sleep. I've learned to deal with it, because I've never been able to stay off the caffeine.
There have been times, however, when I become obsessive about wanting my sleep to get better. I have done "before bed yoga", aromatherapy on my pillow, read books about insomnia, had acupuncture for insomnia, and even wrote as one of my new year's resolutions: I will learn how to nap. Well, for all my scurrying about with a myriad of different solutions (which all worked at least a little for a while), I turned a blind eye to the pink elephant in the room: high as hell stress level and caffeine intake. Duh.
Today, I haven't had caffeine for one solid week. Luckily, I also have the freedom to sleep in with no alarm until next Monday, which helps. I have had a couple headaches and the few days I did have to wake up to an alarm for appointments, I had to battle my whole being screaming, "COFFEEEE!!!" and just start moving. But, here's the event that really matters during the first clean week: I took a nap today, and yesterday. Granted it was only about 10 minutes that I was able to drift off to sleep. But I napped...during the day...with the sun up...just cuz. Hoooooooly crap. Getting off the crack works.
So...here's the dealio. The big test comes in a week, when I'm back at work, and stress becomes a part of my day-to-day again. I want to have a plan. I guess I started drinking caffeine because I had too much to do in too little time. Step one: do less. This is feasible. I just need to keep to to a few things that I love and say no to everything else. Keep it simple, stupid. If I find myself wavering in caffeine world...that's a time to reevaluate what's on my plate. Step two: figure out a way to wake up when an alarm wakes me up that's not delicous, hot and steamy in a cup. I might start the day with some pushups and squats...get the blood moving. Or go for a quick walk in the fresh air. Or....? This part is still in process. What do you do to wake up? Please post to comments anything I might be able to use to keep me on the clean train.
One week down, 51 to go. Thanks for all the support and a big shout out to all of you who have taken on personal challenges of your own! I LOVE hearing about them! You all are inspiring me to keep going in my own challenge, so keep me in the loop!
|I <3 naps!!!!|