It’s that time of year; after a long, lazy summer we’re all struggling to wake up early in the morning to get to our early classes; we disrespect our alarm clocks more than Logan Paul and the US government put together. The 6am rises have us all questioning our life choices – do we really need an education, or would we be perfectly happy flipping McDonald’s burgers for the rest of our careers in exchange for an extra hour’s sleep? No, we’re millennials; we care about ‘meaningful’ work and so we grudgingly flick the kettle on to make a quick cup of instant coffee before we have to leave home.
Once we arrive at uni, we head straight to our favourite café for a double shot espresso to get us through class, and we’ll probably grab another later on when we catch up with friends. Before we know it, we’re stuck in a routine that literally revolves around our caffeine intake, and it isn’t super healthy, even though it’s sort of a rite of passage. Being a non-coffee drinker in a university setting is the equivalent of being an anti-vax mother at playgroup: nobody actually understands you.
But unlike anti-vax mums, non-coffee drinkers actually have something on us. They’re less likely to have anxiety, not as unproductive, and less likely to suffer from insomnia or heart disease. Sure, a coffee is a great treat once in a while, but if you’re trying to cut down your daily intake, this is an article for you.
Here are six alternatives to coffee to keep you awake through your 8am lectures and beyond:
There’s a reason we baptise babies in it. Water is the giver of life; it hydrates you, fuels your metabolism, it’s great for your skin and it’s far more hydrating than a steaming mug of coffee. Also, it’s usually free (if you’re buying bottled water, stop killing the environment and your bank account), and it beats spending your hard-earned dole takings on a low-fat almond milk double shot hazelnut latte with extra foam but easy on the chocolate powder, that you don’t actually need.
Peppermint is a great go-to for mental stimulation, particularly before a long class or an exam. Try chewing some peppermint chewing gum, or having a cup of peppermint tea or even inhaling some peppermint oil.
Green tea does contain caffeine, but it’s a significantly lower amount than your average cup of coffee. It also helps build up your immune system with the added benefit of an energy boost without the sweaty anxiety that coffee often induces.
Although dark chocolate contains caffeine, it’s usually a lower concentration than coffee but is a stimulant for mental alertness. It boosts energy and brain function also.
Go for a walk
It’s zero calories and a way to ensure you get your daily dose of vitamin D, particularly if you’re stuck inside at a desk for most of your day. Going for a walk in the sun has been said to help prevent depressive episodes, as well as invigorate your mind when you need an energy boost.
Up your intake! It’s easy to find vitamin tablets in the supermarket, or else go for some fresh fruits. It boosts your energy and reduces stress.
So this semester, when you’re craving a steaming hot cup of anxiety, consider deviating from your usual café order and try something more natural – you’ll feel the difference.
Do you have a hot tip for cutting down on coffee? Let us know in the comments below!