Tips and Tricks When Going Caffeine Free

Recently I spent about 2 or 3 months without caffeine, which was no small feat for someone who has lived on coffee and tea since about 6th grade. Also college just works better when drinking insane amounts of coffee. I am going to divide my tips into energy tips and drink tips because these are the two challenges I faced.

Energy Tips
As a college student who's first class starts at 9AM most day and whose last class does not end till 8PM I have a really long day. Throw in already reduced energy levels because of chronic illness, pre going caffeine free that stuff was my life line. Here is how I managed not to fall asleep in class-

  • Naps, naps, and more naps. Every afternoon I took a nap without question. It was all about timing. I never took naps past 5 and always had at least a half hour between waking up and class.
  • Snacks that gave me energy, like nuts (although sometimes supplemented with twizzlers on occasion), this was especially important if I was trying to stay up late to finish a paper.
  • Sugary juices, actually I only really drank cranberry juice since I couldn't have anything acid and hate apple juice. I found the sugar gave me an energy boost and the crash wasn't as bad as most sugary things.
My Sans Caffeine Study Kit

Drink Tips
I am about the whitest white girl ever and look forward to enjoy millions of pumpkin spice lattes every fall (maybe not quite millions but you get the point). I did not want to give up my favorite drinks that easily.
  • The first lesson I learned was decaf does not mean caffeine free. So if you are just trying to cut back on caffeine decaf is great but if you want to cut it out of your diet altogether I am sorry to tell you the bad news.
  • Most places will work with you to make you a caffeine free beverage, once I had a barrister that was really excited and asked me if I could try his new fall creation that was caffeine free. This is probably the hardest tip to follow because I don't know about you but I am not good at speaking up for myself.
  • Use this as an opportunity to expand your horizons. Herbal teas are pretty great. I also learned the Starbuck's peppermint hot chocolate is pretty awesome even if it isn't quite a PSL.
Rocking the Peppermint Hot Cocoa

You Mean I Need to Get to Class?

I had a plan for this semester, I was  going to do well in all my classes and actually manage to get to all of them. This year would not be a repeat of senior year where I missed more school than possibly all the other years of my life combined. Yet I am just making it under the limit for allowed absences in most of my classes and I have had to get extensions on assignments. Thankfully all my professors have been very understanding. I think maybe I should have gone to disabilities services to get accommodations, but as my rheumatologist wanted me to be I was determined to make it to class even while flaring. I did just that, I even went when I had a normal person cold!

So had did I get to this point, where I am hanging on by a thread? Chronic illness doesn't allow for one to plan ahead, even when determined. I generally have two rules when it comes to missing class, I have to be in the hospital or unable to walk, sometimes both. So between a few last minute doctor appointments and ER visit and an upcoming endoscope I am barely getting by.

College with a chronic illness is clearly different than without one. I see my friends go out and stay up into the wee hours of the night, and thats just not something I can do if I want to be able to function. SO while everyone else is drinking and going to frat party I generally stay in and catch up on work, and on rare occasions I might bake. I do go out to the city sometimes but most days I have to nap just to make it through all my classes since I am still running sans coffee. Thankfully my head is still above water even if it is just barely, but the end of the semester is in sight.

18th Birthday!

Monday I became a legal adult! I played the lotto and everything. It was an amazing day and my body behaved all day long, which is a rare treat.

I won the Lotto! ($5)

My Roomie Decorated my room!

I won an Award
I had a lovely Birthday Dinner with these Ladies!
Found Chocolate on my Door Handle

And the day ended with this cake!