32 Ways to Kick Your Coffee-Break Habit

“There’s nothing wrong with one or two cups of caffeine a day, especially if you eat well,” asserts Darlene Kvist, MS, a nutritionist with Nutritional Weight and Wellness in St. Paul, Minn. “But if you’re using coffee as your main source of energy, it won’t work. It has no nutrients to support metabolism, which is where energy really comes from.”

Sweets and carbs raise your blood sugar temporarily, she explains, but when your levels drop, you’re left with less physical energy and mental alertness, and in some cases, cravings for more sugar. Worse than that, you could be doing yourself some long-term damage. “The pancreas secretes insulin to remove excess sugar from your blood to maintain glycemic balance,” explains Kvist. “Insulin is a master hormone, meaning that an excess of it can throw off other hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Years and years of excess insulin production leads to major problems: diabetes, higher cholesterol and high blood pressure.”

Ideas:

  1. A walk around the block (or the building)
  2. A few moments in the sun
  3. A series of yoga stretches
  4. A handful of nuts and berries; a lettuce/turkey roll-up
  5. Peeling and eating a hard-boiled egg
  6. Peeling and eating an orange
  7. Making and drinking a cup of green or herbal tea
  8. Aromatherapy with essential oils
  9. A foot rub, hand rub or scalp massage
  10. A conversation with a friend or coworker
  11. A brief journaling session
  12. A few pages of inspiring reading
  13. Listening to a favorite song or musical passage
  14. Playing a tune (if you play an instrument and have one handy)
  15. Listening to a short podcast
  16. Writing a personal card
  17. Sending a thank-you note
  18. Making rounds to visit staff or fellow team members
  19. Checking in with loved ones
  20. Looking back in your calendar for forgotten or “tickler” items
  21. Five minutes deep breathing
  22. Five minutes meditation
  23. One-minute centering exercise
  24. Visualizations or affirmations
  25. Clipping words or images for a visioning-collage project
  26. Clipping articles or noting book titles for your “pleasure reading” file
  27. Dusting your office, family photos, tchotchkes
  28. Weeding your garden or watering plants
  29. Refilling your water bottle or dispenser
  30. Cleaning out your wallet or purse
  31. Decluttering your desk drawer
  32. Doing some quick research to prepare for weekend or evening plans

This was excerpted from “Energy Crisis” which was published in Experience Life magazine.