As many of my friends and family know, I like to have one cup of half-decaf coffee in the morning and one alcoholic drink at night. Do I need to have those each morning and night? Probably not, but I enjoy having them. It is part of my routine and it makes me happy. Unfortunately, one of these two things has been making me very tired by about 1:00pm everyday. Every afternoon I am so exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open. While at the beach I took an hour nap each afternoon. Many of the days that I am home with the kids I have to rest for thirty minutes just to make it through the day. At first I blamed it on having three kids, constantly moving around and getting older. But after church last Sunday it hit me….maybe one of these two things is the culprit. Either the alcohol is not allowing me to sleep well at night or the small amount of caffeine in the morning is making me crash by the afternoon. (I was secretly rooting for the caffeine)
I decided that I needed to go cold turkey on both of these two things to see if there were any changes in my energy level. Amazingly enough, there was a change. On Monday and Tuesday I didn’t feel tired during the afternoons and I didn’t take a nap. Doug came over for dinner on Wednesday, and of course, I had to have a cocktail with him. I decided that having a drink was worth the risk so that I could determine if it was the coffee or the alcohol. Guess what? I wasn’t tired on Thursday either. I have had a drink other nights since then and have not been tired to the point of exhaustion the next day. It seems that caffeine was causing all of my troubles.
Ever since I have had children I have been very sensitive to caffeine. I remember drinking a Diet Coke two years ago on my way to tutoring a girl in math. By the time I was half way through the tutoring session, and almost done with my Coke, I felt sick and couldn’t finish tutoring her. I seriously couldn’t focus on the question and then use my brain to find the answer. I was useless. I haven’t had a Coke since. Somewhere along the way I have eased my way into having a large mug of half-decaf coffee each morning. I can tell when I have had too much coffee, but I never thought that it would make me tired hours later. It seems silly to drink only decaf coffee, but I will be drinking it from now on. I guess it really isn’t the caffeine that I look forward to in the morning, but the warm, sweet coffee that washes down my peanut butter and honey toast. The two of them together make a delicious pair.
It’s funny how we do things everyday out of routine. We are all creatures of habit. Every once in a while it’s good for me to stop doing these habits just to switch things up and to see if they are hurting me or helping me or are neutral. It felt good to stop watching TV for a month. It now feels good to not drink caffeine in the morning. During Lent I enjoyed not having my drink every night. Stopping habits can also help me know if I am addicted to these things or just enjoy doing them. Can I actually stop? They say that habits can be broken within two weeks, especially if you replace an old habit with a new one. I would say that for me, most of my habits are just psychological. I just like a good routine. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Is there anything in your life that you are doing that you need to take a break from? Maybe not, but it may be fun to switch up a few things… for fun.