I sit here rugged up on my bed, Kindle in hand, laptop open, candle afire, posed luxuriantly in what would appear to be some kind of billboard advertisement for a life well rested. But despite the pyjama bottoms and wan beams of sunlight scattered across my unkempt facial hair, I am far from a wink of half sleep or a relaxed afternoon of day dreaming.
The telling artefact present on my Oz Mattress is a takeaway coffee cup; my new flame – emptied of that sweet, silky, chocolatey gold referred to as mocha – that’s a chocolate coffee for those not in the know enough to have already turned their noses up at my faux-caffè infatuation.
Yet, that I stand on the verge of a coffee addiction doesn’t really have me particularly shocked, and I’d be the first to acknowledge it. My appreciation of certain generational ‘lifestyle’ aesthetics, previous known vices (nicotine & cocoa bean) and obsessive personality mean that I am particularly vulnerable to an addiction to coffee. Add to that a love of ‘catching up’ with people and a young urban professional day job and, well, you have the makings of a real problem: yet another unhealthy millennial who loves bad coffee. Oh gees.
But it’s okay,
I’m determined to nip this habit in the bean before it has a chance to percolate.
QUITTERS NEVER LOSE, LOSERS NEVER QUIT
As an ex-smoker I already know how crippling addiction can be.
Money, time, routine and general health are but a few of the things that I sacrificed between 2009 and 2013 in exchange for my stupid loyalty to cigarettes. The changes in my lifestyle occurred rapidly, but the effects of smoking took a long time for me to identify. Similarly, I’ve started to see early signs of comparable negative impacts from my recent coffee splurges.
Money is an easy pain point to realise because at $4 a pop, in one week coffee can vamp me of anywhere between $20-40. Add that up over a year and it’s the same as return flights to Europe, music festival tickets with accommodation or a new wardrobe.
Time and routine might sound insignificant, but dedicating that same 15 or 20 minutes a day that you spend escaping the house or office to order coffee could be better spent on tasks that actually improve your health, like a quick stretch, or as I’ve recently been partial to at the advice of my trainer – a quick go of the foam roller.
If these immediate side effects of a reliance on coffee don’t encourage you to
give the bean a flick (wait, what?) quit coffee, then there’s also the long-term health hazards.
Just like with any addiction, the body can build up an immunity to caffeine, meaning your consumption levels need to rise in order for you to feel that same ‘buzz’. You may potentially find yourself reliant to the point that without coffee you could succumb to symptoms like:
- Persistant headaches
- Trembling hands
- Rapid heart beats and
Like I experienced with my nicotine addiction, substance-reliant symptoms take time for a user to realise, until one day you’re walking along Life Road tired, cranky, out of shape and anxious with a headache that just won’t let up, wondering how things got to be this way.
Don’t let addiction to coffee define your lifestyle. Addictions, in fact, likely do the opposite – sap you of any true lifestyle at all.
ALTERNATIVES THAT ARE WORKING FOR ME
Of course, there’s no harm in having a coffee every now and then, and as far as flavour goes, there’s really no substitute. But if like me you’re a little weak on will power and staring down the barrel of an addiction, there are alternatives you can try.
I’m lucky that I used to work in a tea store, and have plenty of brews that can give me that same winter warming without the full on coffee caffeine hit. Typical herbal teas like peppermint and chamomile are cheap and easy to make, but more adventurous drinkers may even like to try Yerba Mate – a drink popular in South America with its caffeine levels balanced out by antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and polyphenols. You can find a variety of Yerba Mate at T2.
I’ve also made use of my Sunbeam Blender on the Go this year which involves as much therapeutic ceremony as ordering a coffee does. Selecting, chopping and experimenting with various healthy smoothie ingredients is a comparable routine to visiting your local cafe. The time spent prepping and garnishing might also help coffee drinkers to alleviate that need for the mindlessness experienced from simply ‘going for a coffee’.
But the most effective method to avoid a coffee addiction that works for me is a good night of rest. Coffee is often our answer to an imbalanced lifestyle in which we don’t give our bodies enough time to recharge. Sleep is so important for us to function and no amount of coffee can replace it – delicious mochas included!
This post was written with support from Oz Mattress.