Caffeine + Crisis Habits [Quick Wins]

We’ve all picked up on a few habits during this crisis–and some of those habits might not be serving us. Today I’m sharing more about my attempts to moderate caffeine, a habit that I’ve leaned on hard the past few months. I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any habits you are trying to moderate right now?


Hi there and welcome to episode 227. Today we have a quick wins episode and we're talking about caffeine and taking a closer look at some habits that might've started to spiral out of control the past few months during the pandemic. Hi, this is Denaye. I'm the founder of Fimple families. Simple Families is an online community for parents who are seeking a simpler more intentional life. In this show, we focus on minimalism with kids, positive parenting, family wellness, and decreasing the mental load. My perspectives are based in my firsthand experience, raising kids, but also rooted in my PhD in child development. So you're going to hear conversations that are based on research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us.

Hi there. I want to start by thanking Prep Dish for being an ongoing sponsor of the Simple Families podcast. You all know that I love Prep Dish. It has brought so much clarity and balance into our mealtime routines. If you would have asked me a couple of years ago, if I wanted to try a meal planning service, I probably would have said no. I was even a little hesitant to try Prep Dish when they approached me, because I thought, why do I need a list of recipes sent to me every week? There's no shortage of recipes available on the internet these days, but it's so much more than that. Not only does Prep Dish curate a short list of recipes, but they also structure these recipes into three parts. The first is the Shopping List. The second is a Prep Day List. And the third is a Dish Day List.

Prep Day is the best part. This is the real game changer and Prep Day. You do the chopping, you pre cook. Some things you make some dressings, you make some sauces so that when dish day comes around, you're good to go. So I invite you to try it, go to Again, that's, and you'll get two weeks free. All right, onto today's episode, this is a quick wins episode. These episodes are short between five and 10 minutes. And today we're talking about caffeine, but not just caffeine. I want to get you to start thinking about what type of crisis habits that you might have picked up over the past few months and what you might be able to let go of. But caffeine in particular resonates with me because my caffeine habit has gotten pretty out of control for you.

It very well could be something else. Maybe it's too much sugar, too much booze, too much social media, too much Netflix, too much of anything that makes you feel not good. It can be really easy in times of crisis to start leaning on anything that gives us quick and easy relief. We start feeling burnout. We start feeling more tired. We start feeling bored. We start feeling like maybe it's time for a change. I decided last week that caffeine was going to be that change for me. You see I've given up caffeine in the past. I've given up coffee in the past, which is my main source of caffeine. And I've probably done it three or four times. And I'll tell you, it is painful. The first two weeks after giving up coffee or caffeine, if you've been consuming a lot can be really, really difficult.

Most days, your brain barely feels like it's functioning. The caffeine intake has gotten out of control at our house because it's easy. It's hard to moderate it when there's a whole pot of it. Not to mention the fact that now my husband's working from home and I'm operating under the scarcity mindset and I'm worried he's going to drink it all. So I have to get there before he does. I think what really lies at the root of this is the mental stress and uncertainty that has come along with 2020 leaves us feeling drained. And we can often feel like it's the ways that we move our body physically that make us tired. But physical fatigue is just one aspect of feeling beat down and tired. Mental fatigue is another, and there is a great amount of mental fatigue happening worldwide. So I'm waking up, extra tired.

And the solution to that is I'm drinking extra coffee. And then I'm having a hard time getting a good night's sleep. I fall asleep, okay. But I don't sleep quite as deeply, which leads me to feeling more tired, which leads me to drinking more caffeine. Does this cycle sound familiar to anybody? So yes, caffeine can be helpful. There's plenty of research that says that coffee is good for us. But personally, I find that there is a fine line between caffeine taking me from productivity to spinning my wheels and being an anxious mess. And there are certain times in my life when caffeine has served me better. And I think a lot of that relates to my baseline levels of anxiety. If I'm at a pretty good stable baseline, calm, then I can handle caffeine. I can even handle a lot of caffeine, but if there's a lot of stuff, you know, something like a pandemic going on in our lives, our levels of anxiety and depression are naturally going to start to rise.

And we're going to try to compensate often with substances like caffeine and booze and sugar in the past, when I've given up coffee, I've just given up caffeine full stop, and it's been really miserable. So this time I decided I needed to just cut back and I needed to moderate. So for the past week, I've gone no coffee and I've switched to matcha and I've been feeling really good. And one of the benefits of matcha, which is green tea, is that I making an individual cup. I'm not making a whole pot. So naturally it's easier for me to moderate my consumption. And additionally, the caffeine levels are much lower, but as many drinkers of green tea will tell you and tea in general is that you have a more balanced, calm energy. And one of the reasons for that is there is an amino acid called L-theanine, which is naturally found in tea.

And it gives you a more balanced, calm energy. There's also some research that shows that it really helps cognitive focus as well. So what am I doing differently? I'm bringing this habit to my awareness. It's really easy for me to drink too much caffeine and it doesn't make me feel good. It doesn't help me sleep well. It's not serving me anymore. So I have to find a way to moderate or to abstain. So I'm moderating, but I'm also asking myself some important questions. Why am I so tired? How can I address this in other ways? How can I get the energy that I need to start my day? Right? Some other things that I am adding are moving my exercise to the morning, which is really hard for me, but it's definitely making a difference. I feel a huge boost of energy after I exercise and it helps my mood too.

And something else that I find is really helping me is cutting back on my news consumption, staying informed without being inundated, because undoubtedly the news overwhelm adds to my mental fatigue, which makes me more tired and makes me more anxious too. So I challenge you in listening to this episode to reflect on any of the habits that you've picked up on over the past few months that might have started to get a little out of control. How can you reign things back in? How can you bring them to your awareness and question when you're engaging in them? How can you find ways to moderate or to abstain? I think sometimes in times of stress, we can fall into the habit of feeling like the world is spinning out of control. And there's nothing we can do about it while we might not be able to control the outside world.

We can and start to take control back of some of the things going on within our inside world. So I'd love to hear from you about some habits that you are challenging. We're trying to get under control that are no longer serving you. If this episode resonates with you, take a screenshot and posted in your Instagram stories and make sure you tag me. I want to hear about what you're working on next week. I'm going to be opening up enrollment for a workshop on decluttering the toys. So if you could use some inspiration and strategy in that department, I'd love to have you join us. And if you're new around here or feel like you want to dive deeper, go to simple I'd love to have you join us in the free workshop. Thanks for tuning in and have a good one.

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.