How To Survive Without Coffee (Or Other Stimulants)

Are you wondering how it’s possible to survive without coffee?  

Perhaps you’ve been dragging since the time change. Or maybe you have a hard time getting going throughout the whole year without loads of coffee. You probably need another boost of caffeine to beat the afternoon slump. If all this is true, it’s likely you’ve also developed a coffee habit you can’t break without getting headaches or other withdrawal symptoms.

If you’re wanting to be your healthiest possible, it’s worthwhile getting to the root cause of your fatigue.   You can survive without coffee if you explore natural energy boosting solutions instead.

When we experience fatigue after a time change, or anytime really, what we really need is to go to bed early and get up early. This is easier said than done for most of us though. Look back on Natural Sleep Remedies, Part 1: Finding Your Rhythm to learn how to get your sleep back on track, especially for getting yourself to sleep early.

What I’m most interested in offering you here are ways to perk up your energy during the day without stimulants. Why the concern?

There are conflicting studies about the benefits of caffeine in coffee. Some say that it reduces your risk of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and heart disease. These diseases are also avoidable if you eat a balanced, organic whole food diet though, so I’m more concerned with the negative impacts of coffee and other stimulants on our health.

Everyone knows that we live in a stressful, fast-paced society. Stimulants activate the sympathetic nervous system and ask the body to secrete more cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones have a very negative impact on our health longterm by lowering immunity, creating internal inflammation, causing weight gain and creating depressed feelings.

Negative effects of coffee:

  • Diuretic, dehydrates the body

  • Can cause stomachache, GI issues

  • Creates nervous energy, agitation

  • Considered “hot” in Chinese Medicine, can create health imbalances over time

  • Can cause insomnia

I know how it feels to be ruled by caffeine. There was a time when I needed it to get me to school in the morning and to function at work throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening.

This stimulant was covering up my main health issue though. I simply was not getting enough sleep and had disrupted my circadian rhythm severely. When I decided to wean off of it, it took awhile to readjust, but I managed. Now I just use natures cues and some healthy alternatives to help me greet the day instead.

Here are my suggestions on how to survive without coffee or other stimulants:


Get More Sunshine

Humans are diurnal creatures and we are ruled by the life-giving power of the sun. The sun naturally picks up our energy and brightens our mood. Also, when we receive sufficient sun exposure early in the day, our pineal gland secretes melatonin earlier at night, helping us to fall asleep easier, initiating a healthy circadian rhythm.



Getting enough movement circulates your blood and energy, increases metabolism, and perks up your mood. Just be careful not to overdo it and create a stress response. If you exercise early in the morning in the sunshine, then you’re maximizing your ability to perk up during the day and reset your sleep clock at night.


Yogic Breathing

Everyone knows that the breathing practices in yoga can help one become calm and feel more embodied. Did you know that there are some breathing practices that are actually stimulating? Kapalabhati (skull shining) breath is the best option to try. I made a video of it a few years ago. You can view it here!


Essential oils

Diffusing essential oils, experiencing them aromatically, is the quickest way to effect your mood. Citrus and mint oils are especially effective in perking up your energy. There is a big difference in quality among brands though, and some are more effective than others. Please see my essential oil page for my suggestions and let me know if you need help deciding which oils are best for you.


Natural Herbs

There are several Western and Eastern herbs that improve your energy without stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and adding stress to the body. Look for adaptogens like cordyceps, American ginseng (more cooling than Eastern ginseng), and ashwaganda which actually help the body adapt to stress while improving cellular function. This herbal blend is my absolute favorite!


So say you just love the ritual of drinking coffee in the morning. What do you drink instead? You can try:

  • Decaffeinated coffee (if you need coffee taste but no caffeine)

  • Green tea (small amounts of caffeine unless you buy decaffeinated)

  • Barley tea (be aware it contains gluten)

  • Rooibos (my favorite with coconut milk)

  • Kombucha (highly nutritious and feeds your cells, thereby picking up your energy!)


Experiment with these solutions over a relaxed weekend so you don’t have to worry about getting anywhere on-time. Remember, it’s important that you allow yourself to get tired at night and listen to it’s cues to fall asleep by 10pm. Eventually, you’ll find your natural rhythm that’s aligned with the movement of the sun.

Living in harmony with nature is the key to good health. You can survive without coffee!  I know it’s possible for you, if you try!

Are you trying to break your coffee habit?  Why, and what’s working for you?  Please let us know in the comments!

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Brandy Falcon L.Ac.

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