5 Things You Can Do Instead of Drinking Coffee

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We live in a coffee culture.

  • When you ask someone to meet up with you, you will often say “Let’s grab a coffee.”
  • Many of your co-workers or family members will say things like “I can’t get started without my morning coffee.”
  • According to Infobarrel, 50% of people over 18 in the US drink coffee regularly and they drink enough to fill up over 14 Statues of Liberty…every day!

As someone who has a busy schedule, is a parent of two young children, and likely as sleep-deprived as the rest of you, I can totally understand the need for a morning boost. However, given my sensitivity to caffeine – even a 9am coffee will disrupt my sleep – I am not a coffee drinker. Yes, the truth is out. When I tell others about this, it often leads to disbelief, shock, and looks that say “How do you survive?”

I’m not here to knock coffee – in moderation, many studies have shown coffee to have short-term positive effects like increased alertness, memory, and even happiness. It also smells and tastes wonderful.

I’m here to ask what about the rest of us non-coffee drinkers who still need that morning boost?

Here are some alternatives to coffee that you can do to start your day that will energize your body, uplift your spirits and sharpen your mind. While it’s a small sample size, I am speaking from personal experience that all of these things work! Even if you do drink coffee, you can still do them.

1) Drink lemon juice – Lemon juice is a super food with many amazing properties. Having a shot of lemon juice (and for the adventurous, a dash of cayenne pepper) with warm water can boost your immune system and give you a burst of energy – to me it is comparable to drinking a shot of espresso, but with no side effects. Just remember to brush your teeth before doing this instead of afterwards and rinse with water after due to the acidity of the lemon.

2) Do a 30 second burst of exercise – Doing even 30 seconds of intense exercise first thing in the morning like jumping jacks, running rapidly on the spot or burpee jumps can boost your energy and adrenalin. It has been compared to drinking coffee with no downside (no crash, no disrupted sleep). That’s less time than it takes to start up your coffee maker!

3) Express gratitude – There are no magic bullets in life, but this is one of the quickest and easiest ways to gain short and long-term benefits to your emotional health and energy. Every morning, write down (or type) 3 things that you are grateful for. It doesn’t sound like much, but you find that by the end of this exercise, you are completely uplifted. The best part is doing this even occasionally can have a positive effect on mood even up to 3 months after you stop doing it. If you haven’t set a New Year’s Resolution yet, making gratitude part of your daily routine could make a real difference in your life.

4) Laugh – Laughing is an emotional cleanser. It has so many proven benefits, one of which is increasing your energy levels. One thing you can do is to create an easily available list of things in your life that REALLY make you crack up just by thinking of them and then take a peek at it and let the laughter do the rest.

5) Do some self-affirmation – Look in the mirror, right into your own eyes and tell yourself whatever it is you think you need to hear. It could be as simple as “You’re doing great.” If you’ve never done it before, try it – it’s quite powerful. Many of us, myself included, could stand to be more gentle with ourselves. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push yourself to achieve more and be ambitious, but sometimes what we really need to hear from ourselves is that we’re doing alright.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, psychologist, or someone with any credentials that allow me to credibly give such ideas – I’m just a coffee-free guy who found some things that help me. So check with your respective professionals, mostly for #1 and #2.

Constant Questions: What gives you energy in the morning? Do you depend on coffee for your morning fix? Would you give up coffee and try some alternatives ways to wake up? Is the best part of waking up really Folgers in your cup?

If you want to know what really happens when you drink coffee, check this out:

Thank you, but no thank you

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Stop saying thank you to donors. Of course, I don’t mean that as it sounds. Showing appreciation for donations is one of the (if not the) most important things that happens after someone gives. All I’m saying is find another way to say it.

You are a bunch of creative people out there and I’m sure you can find some awesome alternatives. A simple thank you always has its place, but to get people’s attention, show them that you’ve taken some more time to think about showing gratitude.

So how about a contest?

I am looking for the best opening line for a thank you that doesn’t say “thank you” in it. Get creative, get fun, get quirky, but show your appreciation.

Starting as soon as this post is released, tweet your best opening line for a thank you email, letter, phonecall, fax, or stone tablet message to #BestTY and the best one wins, it’s that simple.

Just don’t say thank you.

The contest will close Saturday, August 17th at midnight, EST, and the winner will be announced shortly after. The best ones will be Storified, along with the announcement of the winner, and captured here in a future post.

The judges for this contest will be me and these four amazing fundraising type people:

  • Mary Cahalane, Director of Development at Charter Oak Cultural Center and fundraising wizard, as her blog Hands-on Fundraising will show you.
  • John Lepp, Partner at Agents of Good, standing up against bad fundraising everywhere, and mega-zealot about treating donors right.
  • Ann Rosenfield, Executive Director of the WoodGreen Foundation, and her hands are insured for $1 million because she is a handwritten note legend.
  • Brock Warner, Donor Programs Officer at War Child Canada and recent entrant into the blog world with iamafundraiser, much to the delight of…well…everyone!
  • Supreme appreciation to these excellent friends for supporting this – I know they are all big advocates of showing ‘donor love’.

    So what’s up for grabs? Recently, I was lucky enough to win a Twitter contest run by Zipcar, and I won a $25 Amex gift card. I committed that if I won it, I would find a way to give it away, so that was the birth of this contest. I know it’s not a trip to Paris, but it’s the pride, not the prize, folks.

    However, after hearing about the contest, John and the good folks at Agents of Good have generously offered to do a free evaluation of an appeal or thank you letter for the winner. Now that’s something to write home about…hopefully to say thanks.

    UPDATE August 12, 2013 – I’m going to up the ante to spur on entries by adding three $10 Amazon.com gift cards to be given out randomly to those that enter. Use it towards a fundraising book or a waffle iron. Maybe get something nice for a friend. Whatever you like!

    Note, the Amex card is a US gift card, but it should be usable at any online vendor if you’re not from the US. If you win, I will mail it to you once the contest is done, wherever you are in the world.

    Here’s the catch. You must be on Twitter! This is as good an excuse as any to start.

    Good luck to all!

    Constant Questions: I would ask you here for the best opening line for a thank you, but you’re going to tweet it, right? Instead, what is the worst opening line for a thank you that you have seen? What are some creative ways you have said thank you or seen it done?