In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the physiological consequences of consuming caffeine on a regular basis. But in this section, I'd like to take a more holistic focus and start to examine some of the potential reasons why you would require an external stimulant in order to live your day to day life. #realtalk My personal theory is that the regular consumption of toxic foods and/or beverages is primarily fueled by underlying toxic thoughts, emotions, belief systems, and/or lifestyle habits. And those are the things that are worth paying attention to and consciously shifting, instead of engaging in some self-imposed guilt trip or endless mind-numbing debate about the latest scientific studies on whether caffeine is good for you or bad for you! It is my opinion that nothing is inherently good or bad, it’s all about how you use it in your life and for what reasons, that makes all the difference.
Your Work / Life Balance is Non-Existent
I used to be a CPA at a public accounting firm named Deloitte & Touche. It’s well known that in this industry, there’s a “busy season” where you’re expected to work 60-70 hours per week. This work standard was often made possible with the help of a little drug…I mean substance…called caffeine. I managed to make it through busy season without caffeine each year, but there came a time when due to certain filing deadlines, my audit team was asked to work about 30 hours in a row, without going home. Being the young and naïve peon on the team blindly following orders, I agreed to this “request” and around 4am, I proceeded to morph into a zombie where all sense of productivity came to a screeching halt, but I continued to blankly stare at my screen, while toggling between tabs on my Excel spreadsheet. I was the only one visibly suffering, as all my teammates were wired on caffeine and powering through the night.
While that may be an extreme example, most people are completely out of balance when it comes to tolerating unreasonable requests made by their employer or the time they devote to their job vs. their personal interests, their health, and family/friends. If you are subconsciously relying on caffeine to do your job, or for that matter keep your job, then I would seriously considering reassessing your chosen occupation and even changing jobs. Because if you continue at this pace, in essence, you’re trading short-term remuneration for long term health challenges due to the chronic imbalances you are creating within your body. And I've met many people who are in this boat, wishing now, that they would have made changes sooner.
Your mind will probably be able to come up with all sorts of limiting beliefs of why you can't change your work environment (e.g. "the job market is horrible", "everything would fall apart if I worked less hours", "my boss would never let me telecommute", "I won't be able to find anything better than this", "but my kids have to go to THIS school in THIS district", etc.), but I’m here to let you know, that anyone (including YOU) can unplug, can push back, can ask for what you want, and can find a job that supports a healthy work ethic. Your well-being demands it. I meet people everyday who have recreated their work environment so that it supports their health.
Now in order to do this, you might have to do one or more of the following: 1) redefine for yourself what society considers to be “successful”, 2) let go of the fear of not being able to provide for yourself or for your family, or 3) to let go of any limiting beliefs that says you're stuck. But remember, you always have the power to make a new decision in your life. Always.
TAKE ACTION: If this sounds familiar, consider asking a friend that you consider to be objective and outside your current field or industry, whether your work routine or environment seems to be out of balance, and if so, ask them to help you brainstorm some creative solutions to get you back on track and to create more balance in your life.
Your To-Do List Is Out of Control
I recently talked to a friend who admits that before she started eating better and meditating, she was on a roller coaster ride that involved waking up in the wee hours of the morning to exercise so she could be fit and take care of body, followed by a long workday at an uninspiring job which was fueled by several cups of coffee during the day to stay awake, and then at night because she was so ramped up on caffeine, she would take Benadryl so she could fall asleep to wake up early in the morning to work out and start the same routine all over again. It’s sounds insane to her now, but felt completely normal to her back then.
I have another friend who doesn’t really like the idea of drinking caffeine on a daily basis but she does it because she needs it in order to survive the school year. Her job, workout schedule, and housekeeping duties, combined with her children’s early wake up and after school/weekend activities are just too much for her to handle during the school year, and she ends up extremely tired a lot of the times.
My friends have different reasons for being overwhelmed, but they both had a tendency to put way too much on their plates, and unconsciously operate beyond their capacity. In addition, both of them shared that they didn’t feel like there was anything they could do to unplug from their self-created runaway train.
Is your to-do list out of control? Leaving you with little energy -- forced to survive on artificial stimulation? It might be time to accept that you cannot possibly "do it all" and instead do some soul searching to get in contact with what's really important to you.
TAKE ACTION: Spend some time this week creating two lists. For the first list, take inventory of the number of activities you currently have on your plate. For the second list, write down your core values or principles that guide your life and are important to you. Compare the two lists and try to tune into your heart to see where there is any discord or to identify any items that are clearly not worth compromising your long term health. Use this exercise to simplify your routine and prioritize time for the things that nurture your spirit and build you up instead of depleting your mojo.
You Don’t Like Your Life
Are you bored with your life?
Feeling generally uninspired or jut plain "meh"?
Do you feel unaligned with the bigger reason for you being on this planet right now?
I used to feel this way often when I was accountant and it made it REALLY hard to get going in the morning. I literally lived next door to my job and didn't make it in until 9:30 or 10am sometimes. I was paid well, traveled a lot, had a enviable work environment, and a great boss. So I felt more than guilty that my spirit was dying a little each day on the inside, given that I had such a "good life", compared to so many other people in the world.
When I started pursuing my personal interests and after quit my accounting job, I noticed that several things quickly became obsolete. That whole “I’m not a morning person” thing didn’t really hold as much weight as it did before, and I started to enjoy different parts of the morning when I had space to listen to quiet time before the day starts…to watch the sunrise as it came up…and to make my breakfast without rushing out the door. The concept of “hating Mondays” also went out the window. When I was surrounded by tasks that I loved doing on a regular basis and had the freedom to set my own schedule by working for myself, suddenly I began to love all the days in the week again and stopped hating on poor Monday. And the last thing that dropped away was the idea of “living for the weekend” which is the name of a popular song and speaks to the concept of suffering through a miserable week at a job that one dislikes or simply tolerates, in order to squeeze all the things one loves to do into two days, before waking up on Monday to repeat the same pattern all over again.
I'll say from personal experience, that when you sincerely like your life and the people and events in it, and consciously fill your days with things that you find interesting and exciting, you’ll be dying to greet each day anew and you actually might have trouble falling asleep at night because you can’t wait to see what the next day brings! You will not need caffeine to get you through your day or your life because you will be coasting off the natural energy that inspiration and joy brings.
TAKE ACTION: If this applies to you, take at least 15 minutes this week to close your eyes and do a soul check-in about how you really feel about your life and whether your daily routine really reflects your inner desires, hopes, and aspirations. If not, ask yourself what types of things you could be doing to bring more excitement, passion, and joy into your reality on a daily basis.
And if none of the above applies to you, then maybe you just like the taste of coffee and plan to switch to decaf, and get some more quality sleep in the near future after reading this article!
I hope that you found this 2-part article helpful in some way and learned some information about the effects of caffeine on the body, but most importantly started to dig a little deeper into your reliance on artificial stimulation in your life and what changes you might need to make to address any related imbalances.
Blessings of love, light, and wellness to each of you on your road to healing your body and discovering who you truly are! If the above article resonated with you in any way, I'd love for you to share your thoughts below!
LaShanda Greene is a former CPA turned Health Educator and Wellness Consultant. She overcame a long list of health challenges five years ago by cleansing her body, changing her diet, meditating daily, and pursuing a more fulfilling life and career path. She's passionate about helping people address the root causes of their chronic health issues, heal mind, body, and spirit, and live an empowered life filled with joy, excitement, and purpose. She's currently working on a book and traveling the world to learn about various healing modalities, as well as speaking publicly about natural healing and the health benefits of detoxification. Click here to learn more about her new educational video series entitled "Learn With LaShanda".