Caffeine alternatives are a great way to kick the coffee habit at work. If you feel like you can't function with that morning cup of joe, you might have an addiction to caffeine. Dependency on anything can be detrimental to your health, but when coffee and caffeine are so readily available in the workplace, kicking that habit can be particularly difficult. Here's a look at how caffeine addiction might work and an alternative energy boost for work.
Signs of Caffeine Dependency
Caffeine does bring some health benefits, so you might not want to eliminate it entirely. But long-term addiction can be detrimental to your health too. Moderate consumption of coffee, for example, can be good for your cardiovascular health and may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, gout, uterine and liver cancer and Parkinson's. (It's not quite clear if these benefits are tied to the caffeine or just the coffee.)
However, caffeine addiction and long-term overuse can bring its own risks. If you have too much caffeine (such as more than 400 mg, or four cups of coffee) at a time, you might feel restless and shaky, get headaches and insomnia, have an abnormal heart rhythm, feel dizzy or experience increased anxiety. Some people may experience some of these symptoms with less caffeine, since the affects can vary based on size, weight, health and medication that you're taking. Long-term effects of over-consumption of caffeine might include higher blood pressure, osteoporosis, ulcers, difficulty sleeping, infertility, or increased anxiety or depression.
If you are addicted to caffeine, then you'll experience withdrawal when you stop consuming it regularly. These symptoms can include headaches, drowsiness, irritability, nausea and difficulty concentrating. Symptoms typically go away after a few days.
Whether you simply don't like being dependent on any kind of substance, or if you've noticed some unwanted side effects — like an abnormal heart rhythm or increased anxiety — it might be time to cut down on the caffeine. Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives you can try.
- Decaffeinated Tea: Sometimes simply the act of drinking serves to keep you awake just as much as the caffeine itself. Try some decaffeinated tea with a flavor that appeals to you.
- Probiotic Drinks: These beverages come in a lot of varieties and contain strains of active probiotic cultures. They can help maintain your gut health and boost your immune system. Some come with doses of fruits and veggies too, which can give you an added boost.
- Coconut Water: Coconut water can be a great way to boost energy because of the minerals and potassium. You can also blend in bananas or strawberries for an added kick.
- Energy-Boosting Water: Ice water can shock your system and wake you up. Take it with vitamin B12 for mental clarity and energetic properties. Or you can mix water, strawberries, ice, cinnamon and lime.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Some people swear by using a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar in the morning as a nice energy boost.
- Açai Berry Drinks: The science is still out on these drinks, but the antioxidants and refreshing taste might give you a pick-me-up. Just avoid if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
More Energy-Booster Tips for Work
If finding a caffeine alternative isn't really your preference, there are many other things you can do to boost your energy at work. For example, getting in better shape and exercising can boost your overall energy levels over time. Even going for brief workouts during your lunch hour or a brisk walk in the sunshine can feel refreshing and boost your energy. Taking more regular breaks, rather than just once a day for lunch, can help too.
Consider listening to invigorating music or podcasts through headphones while you work. You might also consider investing in a standing desk, so you can get up, stretch and move around while you work.
As you can see, there are many caffeine alternatives you can try if you feel too dependent on the substance and need an energy boost for work. Of course, with any of these caffeine alternatives, talk to your doctor first to make sure that it's healthy for you to try.