How the pandemic helped me kick my coffee addiction

Want some advice on how to quit drinking coffee? (Pexels.)

One cup. Two cups. Three cups. Another? Sure, why not?

No cream or sugar, just black coffee.

This was me, just about every morning as I got into work: Constantly filling up my coffee cup until I was hyper-focused and my hands started to jitter. It’s how I got through my work days, and I didn’t know any different.

That was, until, the pandemic hit the United States last March, and I was forced to work from home, where this millennial didn’t own a Keurig, let alone a basic coffee maker.

I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, another millennial without a coffee maker at home,” but when my job provides coffee for us, I never thought it was necessary.

I’m not the kind of person who needs coffee the minute I wake up in the morning, so I never bothered to get a machine.

But when I found myself stuck at home for the foreseeable future, I had some options. Do I make a Starbucks run every morning? I could have, but I was so freaked out at the beginning of the pandemic, that any sort of human interaction made my anxiety spike through the roof.

Do I order a Keurig on Amazon? I could have, but at the time, Amazon orders were backed up, and I felt guilty ordering something when others were trying to get toilet paper and hand sanitizer shipped to their homes.

Or do I finally kick this coffee addiction, something that I’d been trying to do for the past year?

About a year before the pandemic, I noticed that I was getting indigestion and heartburn midway through my day, most of the time before I ate my lunch. At first, I’d blame it on the meal I had the night before, but when I started to eat Tums like they were candies in the middle of the day, I knew something wasn’t right.

I did some research and found out that coffee can be very acidic and can cause those problems.

When I realized that the one thing keeping me chugging along all day was making me feel like crap, I panicked.

I knew drinking three to four cups of coffee a day was not good for me. It’s like, no one should be hopped up on that much caffeine, right? I knew that this was the perfect time to start weaning off, and trying to only have one cup a day.

I did that for about a year, and sometimes, I would go a day without even having a cup, so when it came time to figure out how I’d have coffee at home during a global pandemic, I figured, why not cut it out of my life completely?

It was a struggle at first.

Not only was I feeling the dread of living through an unknown global pandemic, but on top of that, I didn’t have the boost of energy to help me focus at my job, which, by the way, was its own hurdle since we were all working from home.

To be honest, most of this was mental. I just had to kick it into high gear and get my work done, regardless if I was buzzing on copious amounts of coffee or not.

The other part was trying to find ways that I could boost my energy throughout the day without a strong cup of coffee. Since I was working from home, I could do things like take my dog for a walk first thing in the morning, take a 10-minute break from work to do some yoga stretches and make myself lunch.

All of these little tasks honestly gave me the boost that I needed to stay focused at work, and not depend on coffee.

Do I miss it? Abso-freaking-lutely. There is nothing better than having a warm cup of coffee in your hands. I think for most people, it becomes more about the ritual of coffee than the actual caffeine boost you get from it.

Since the pandemic started just a little more than a year ago, I’ve had one cup of coffee, and that was only because I was baking a coffee cake and needed some for the recipe.

It may seem like an impossible task to give up coffee, but just know that it’s certainly not going to happen overnight -- just like kicking any habit.

Allow yourself the time to do it, don’t beat yourself up if you slip up, and find other ways to fill the void.

For me, it was taking my dog for a walk every morning. For you, maybe it’s switching to tea or a healthy smoothie in the morning.

The pandemic has caused a lot of grief, sadness and a bucket load of anxiety, but if you can find some silver linings out of it, like I did, perhaps you’ll look back at this wild year a little differently.


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