College is a stressful time with so much to do, and I’m not the only one who turns to coffee to try to be alert for class and get all my work done. 40 percent of college students are drinking coffee every day, according to a University of New Hampshire study. It’s both a college student cliche and a major truth. Think about it, when is the last time no one in class came with a mug?
I’m cutting back on coffee, finally. I’ve tried to for years, but every time I’d end up with a coffee cup glued to my hand every day anyway. My stress level stayed high, and the more stressed I was, the more I coffee I drank. Therefore, I was more stressed and anxious. It was a never-ending cycle.
The thing about coffee is that caffeine is actually a psychoactive drug, and it doesn’t mix well with everyone. Some of its side effects can actually be counterproductive for college students. Jitteriness can be distracting when you’re trying to work. Insomnia from too much coffee can make sure you’re more tired tomorrow. Coffee can upset your digestive system too. I wonder how many of the days I didn’t feel good and missed classes and meetings were actually caused by too much coffee.
The worst side effect of the caffeine for me was the anxiety and nervousness. I’m naturally a more anxious person, and coffee compounded that for me. I’d feel tired, get coffee and it would wake me up but I only became more anxious. It was starting to get in the way of living my life and getting my schoolwork done.
I tried just getting rid of coffee, cold turkey style, but I would always end up going back. It wasn’t until I changed my routines that I was able to cut coffee out of my life. Coffee had become a routine to me, without me realizing it.
I started getting up earlier. Before, I would get up 15 minutes before I needed to be out of the house every day, and fall back on coffee if I didn’t have energy later. Now, I get up an hour before I need to leave so I have time to wake up before I start into class and homework. When I wake up earlier, I’m not tired by time I get to school, so most days, I don’t go back to coffee for energy.
I’ve also replaced the coffee, for the most part, with tea. Tea still has caffeine, but not as much as coffee, so I get a little energy boost without the anxiety. Tea is also cheaper than coffee, so I save some money.
I still have coffee every once in a while, but now I drink a small instead of a large, or a mocha instead of a black coffee. Cutting out coffee has also changed the way I enjoy coffee–instead of drinking it like my life depends on it, I’m able to enjoy it. I’m not looking for the quickest energy boost I can get. I drink my coffee slowly and take time to enjoy the process of it. I’m not the caffeine wired, shaking because all I’ve eaten today is coffee woman I was not long ago, and I’m better for it.