Why I Quit Caffeine

On August 30th, 2016, I ended up in the hospital.

My chest felt tight, breathing was difficult, and my heart was pounding. I thought I was dying.

Turns out, it was just a severe panic attack.

You guys have heard me talk about this before. I know I've had some form of anxiety or another for most of my life, but it was so ever-present and ingrained in everything I did, I didn’t realize what it was.

Feeling that way all the time was my normal.

When I started learning more about that feeling, I became more conscious of it in my life. It was like a fish finally noticing water. That consciousness was important in a lot of ways, but the problem with noticing the anxiety is that I started noticing it—and feeling it—more and more.

Then after moving my entire life to Calgary at 31, anxiety really took over.

My Wake Up Call

That August day in the hospital was my breaking point.

I've talked about it in my podcast before, so if you haven't heard that whole story check it out here.

After getting home from the hospital, I realized I needed to make some lifestyle changes if I wanted to continue functioning. I was desperate to feel “normal” again (whatever that is).

The first thing I examined was my relationship with caffeine. Sometimes I noticed a spike in my anxiety after my morning coffee, so I did the unthinkable: I decided to stop drinking coffee.

I never thought I was addicted to caffeine because I could easily go a day or two without it, but when I eliminated it altogether, it was insane how my body reacted.

Caffeine withdrawal is no joke, you guys. I had a twitch on my left eyelid for over 4 months!

The withdrawal symptoms sucked, but mentally I felt So. Much. Better. My stress and anxiety just melted away.

I mean, it wasn’t 100% gone, but I was able to function day to day with a lot less trouble.

Just ask Nick. Before quitting coffee, he said I would often cry after waking up in the morning because I was overwhelmed with the thought of trying to make it through another day.

So after cutting out coffee, I decided to try quit caffeine altogether.

This meant saying goodbye to caffeinated pop. Yes, POP...omg I love pop. Seriously, it's a weakness. That was a hard one. Thank god Coke makes a caffeine free diet Coke.

(I accidentally had a regular about a year ago and I thought I was high on drugs! It's amazing how your body reacts when you have eliminated something harmful from your system.)

It's taken me 2 years to get to the point where I don't crave the caffeine rush, and my energy stays constant throughout the day. That's a huge win right there. No more afternoon slump!

Do what it takes to feel better

Quitting coffee was the first domino to completely changing my lifestyle to keep my mind and body healthy.

Now I'm working on my sugar intake, another hard battle, but since cutting back I am feeling even better!

Nick actually told me one day, “You know Dawn, when you are eating right, exercising, and sleeping well, you are an entirely different version of yourself!”

Wow. What a realization. I don't know if I would have ever connected it until he shared that with me.

After hearing that, I realized I needed to maintain these changes.

Ugh, maintenance. I hate it. I wish we could just do the hard work, achieve the thing, and then be good.

I think maintenance is one of my life's biggest pet peeves. Maybe that's why I love to give my clients low maintenance hair. I hate being a slave to regular upkeep. (This is why I don't wear gel nails or false eyelashes anymore. I can't stand the maintenance.)

I always say it’s like going to the gym. You can work out hard and get the muscles, but if you quit going, those muscles will disappear.

If you quit maintaining, you’ll end up right back where you started.

The bottom line: Do what you need to do to be the best version of yourself. Even if it means giving up coffee. Even if it means going to bed early or saying “no” to commitments that drain you.

It will be worth it.

Personal, lifeDawn BradleyComment