I’m 68 days off coffee and write this while enjoying a lovely cup of tea!

The decision to breakup with coffee came on suddenly and was a total “It’s not me, it’s YOU!” moment.  I’d spent years in a monogamous relationship with coffee and then one day I just wasn’t that into it any longer.  I was terrified about the process of giving up coffee.  We’d been together so long and I didn’t know how to make a clean break.  I knew that my body was asking me to but…headaches and exhaustion and cravings…oh my!  Here are five tips for successfully joining me in the coffee free zone.

1. Don’t try to quit cold turkey.
I’ve tried giving up coffee in the past and I always failed within a few days.  I would be drinking my favorite triple shot soy lattes one day and have no coffee the next day.  The headaches were intense and I always caved.  This time I set a date and made a plan.  I slowly tapered off coffee over a four-week period until I was completely off it.  You can start by cutting your regular coffee with 1/4 decaf and each week mix in more decaf.  I slowly added in tea, cut myself off after one cup when out to brunch and ordered half-caff lattes at Starbucks.

2. Get your tea on.
I’ve switched to tea and my favorite is Yerba Mate, a natural source of caffeine.  Yerba Mate doesn’t make me jittery or cause a caffeine crash.  (And there is a chocolate tea – yum!)

When a coffee craving hits, I frequently turn to herbal tea.  Often what I’m really craving is the experience of sipping a hot beverage and I get the same pleasure from herbal tea.  I love Yogi teas – they are organic teas rooted in Ayurveda principles and include inspirational quotes.

3. Rest up.
It’s important to be kind to your body during the process of getting coffee out of your system.  Go to bed earlier, sleep in, take naps – whatever it takes.  I’m a troubled sleeper which was always my excuse for needing to drink coffee.  I started going to bed earlier and listened to my body.  If I needed a nap, I took one.

4. Get moving.
Moving your body is always important but even more so when you are making a lifestyle change.  Exercise can be a distraction from the cravings.  It can also provide you with natural energy.  On the mornings when I wake up feeling groggy and the coffee pot is calling me name I will stretch and do some light yoga.  A regular fitness regiment will also assist you in getting more sleep and waking up feeling energized.

5. Hydrate.
My first thought every morning when the alarm went off used to be about coffee.  If I could have, I would have kept the coffee maker on my bedside table!  I’ve replaced this was a large glass (24 ounces) of water.  The first thing I do when my alarm goes off is reach for my water.  This dose of water naturally wakes up my system and keeps me hydrated.

Bonus tip: Stay out of coffee shops for a while!  The smell of brewing coffee is enticing and can so easily lure you back in.  Coffee was at the heart of brunch for me so I had to skip brunch for a few weekends until my cravings were under control.  I didn’t step within ten feet of a Starbucks during the first few weeks.  Now that I am more than two months out, I don’t even notice the cravings anymore.  I can sit in a coffee shop and enjoy the aroma while drinking my tea.

Have you given up coffee?  What helped you?  Planning to give it up?  Share your questions and fears in the comments below.  I’m here to support you on your journey!