8 Ways Towards a Mindful Relationship With Caffeine

8 Ways Towards a Mindful Relationship With Caffeine

Originally published on The Huffington Post

I could feel my endorphins kicking in. I looked at my business partner and knew it was almost my turn.

“Don’t forget to smile,” I reminded myself, “Arianna Huffington is on the judging panel. Don’t screw it up.”

My partner gave me the cue, and I launched into the close of our epic pitch. The timer counted down as I finished my last sentence, leaving just enough time for the grand finale — our buzzer beater, in-unison jump as we declared, “Javazen! It makes you feel good!”

The crowd roared. We did it! Five minutes of pure anxiety mixed with excitement, and we crushed it. I stood there, stunned at the thought that this had all started in our dorm room.

Who would have thought that we’d be standing on stage at the 2016 Cupid’s Cup Entrepreneurship Competition delivering a five-minute pitch for $75,000?

When we heard Kevin Plank, the Founder and CEO of Under Armour, call our name as the grand prize winner, the world as we knew it stopped spinning. Then we learned that we’d also won the Audience Choice award on top of first place. The experience was surreal.

In college, like many of my peers, I suffered from caffeine addiction and burnout. Despite the drawbacks, I figured I would never give up coffee. My kitchen overflowed with coffee gadgets and accessories. I even roasted my own beans. Yep, I was that guy. And I would never listen to my roommate and succumb to drinking tea, like he did. At least, that was the case until a joke in which he mixed tea into my coffee changed our lives.

We created Javazen, a tea-infused-coffee company with a mission to lead the world of coffee to a healthier place. As the CEO of a startup, I can fully relate to the demands of an intense and stressful lifestyle. It takes a lot of energy, which many people try to replenish by drinking coffee and/or tea; we just happened to create a new blend that combines the best of both. The result is a smoother, more focused buzz that is healthy and feels good. Improved energy with no crash—the coffee version of the sound of one hand clapping.

During our market and product research, we took a deep dive into the world of caffeine. Now we like to consider ourselves caffeine gurus. So whether you drink Javazen or not, I wanted to share 8 simple tips that can help you caffeinate mindfully and take control of your caffeine consumption instead of allowing it to control you.

The quality of your caffeine source matters:

The source of your caffeine matters more than you may think. Coffee has drawbacks — jitters, crash, restlessness, etc. Luckily most of this can be counterbalanced by choosing the right source. The easiest place to start is by searching for an organic certification on the packaging of any caffeinated product that you purchase. Beyond the absence of pesticides, the soil in organic farms has a higher nutrient content. This leads to a healthier crop and in turn, a healthier you!

Superfoods can be better than sugar and/or cream:

Many people use creams and sugars to make bad coffee taste good. The problem is that the extra sugar cause a spike in blood-sugar levels, which amplifies the side-effects of jitters and crash. Instead of adding creams and sugar, try adding a few naturally sweet and tasty superfoods like raw cacao or goji berries.

Use Caffeine as a tool, not a Band-Aid:

Coffee can boost mental and physical performance, but it should be thought of as a tool and not a Band-Aid. Waiting until you feel tired and then drinking coffee is a dangerous approach. Using coffee this way as a crutch will only lead to further exhaustion in the long run. Coffee can be a great tool when you need a quick fix to stay awake or boost productivity, but it’s important to be mindful that caffeine is a temporary solution. It’s not a replacement for sleep. Once your life calms down and everything is under control, you need to catch up on your sleep.

Don’t forget sleep as an energy source:

“We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis,” writes Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. This crisis has profound consequences — on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What is needed, Huffington boldly asserts, is nothing short of a sleep revolution. Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.

All energy starts with your sleep. In addition to allowing yourself enough time to sleep, the quality of your sleep extremely important. Caffeine can disrupt your sleep cycles. Everyone’s body reacts differently to caffeine, and it’s important that you are aware of how it affects you. Can you drink 3 cups of coffee in the afternoon and sleep just fine? Or are you the type of person who will be wired all night after a 2 p.m. cup of Joe? After learning how your body reacts to caffeine, you can begin to optimize your energy levels and avoid disrupting your sleep cycles.

For more information on improving your relationship with sleep, I recommend picking up or downloading a copy of The Sleep Revolution, which provides a detailed roadmap to the great sleep awakening that can help transform our lives, our communities, and our world.

Try a cup of breath:

Next time that you feel like you need a caffeine boost and it is a bit late in the day, try some deep breathing. Sitting at your desk for long periods of time is not the best for your body or your mind. Breathing can increase blood flow, which helps with creativity and boosts energy levels.

Next time you find yourself yawning at work, try this technique:

Inhale to the count of two
Exhale to the count of two
Inhale to the count of two
Exhale to the count of three
Inhale to the count of two
Exhale to the count of four
Inhale to the count of two
Exhale to the count of five

Do this 5 times, then return to your normal breathing. You will find yourself recharged!

Try stretching your way to energy:

Another useful strategy to avoid drinking caffeine too late in the day is to try a few stretches to provide the body and brain with oxygenated blood. Here is my favorite ‘deskercise’ routine:

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Instructions:

 

  1. Stand up out of your chair
  2. Squat down on one knee
  3. Stretch forward and feel your hips open
  4. Stand up and repeat with other leg

 

Try just a few minutes next time you are at work. Your body and brain will thank you for it.

Try a caffeine power nap:

Many times, all we need is a quick nap to relax, clear the mind and reboot. To maximize the effect of a quick nap, try drinking a cup of your favorite energy booster (I prefer Javazen Balance), find a comfortable place to lay down and set a 20-minute timer. Caffeine will begin to absorb into your system as the timer rings, waking you up. You’ll be ready to take on the world.

Drink more water:

A simple trick to balance the effect of caffeine on your body is to drink more water. For every cup of coffee you drink, make a commitment to drink an extra cup of water for the day. I’ve found that when I do this, my energy levels skyrocket and my productivity enjoys an extra boost.

Caffeine is not a bad thing, but if you rely on it too much, it will lose its performance-enhancing effect and put your body out of balance. Learn to caffeinate mindfully to attain high, sustainable energy levels and get the most out of your day. Try a few of these tips, experiment with healthy teas and superfoods as a part of your daily coffee ritual — and if all else fails, have a cup of Javazen.


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