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: