My daily cup of sad


There it is. Decaf. My new normal.

Accept nothing about my new decaffeinated life feels normal. Since changing my diet and lifestyle last year I’ve given up most grains and sugars (Save for birthday cake. All bets are off when buttercream is involved), I hardly drink even a sip of wine and for crying out loud I’ve replaced pasta night with zucchini noodles. My last and utterly delightful vice was coffee. Sweet nectar of the gods in my cup each and every morning, plus soul satisfying cup of green tea in the afternoon. I wrote about my beloved butter coffee a few months ago. My daily buzz was a bright spot on my every day.

And then I stopped sleeping. Over the past few months I’ve experienced about a couple dozen sleepless nights. It’s a horrifying new occurrence for me as sleeping has always been my gift. For 40 years I’ve successfully fallen asleep easily and slept hard for as long as is socially acceptable. I could nap at your house, sleep on a plane and dream deeply in any hotel. Now I lay awake thinking about ALL THE THINGS and nothing at all for hours. I’ve relegated my cell phone, iPad and laptop to only daylight hours and I’ve tried hot baths, massage, lavender oil, restorative yoga and Advil PM. That last experiment was an exercise in crazy-making on a whole other level and I will never take another sleep aid again.

I blame hormones. Or changing hormones. And it turns out hormones hate caffeine (and alcohol, sugar and everything else that is worth waking up for, assuming you ever fall asleep). So I’m switching to decaf with a splash of caffeine to keep me livable. But it makes me sad. Just shopping the decaf section of fresh beans makes me stabby and resentful. Of course, lack of sleep could have something to do with my overall mood. I’m sure hoping the change will bring about some sort of hormonal balance and regular sleep sometime very soon.

I’m also re-reading The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried for the 400th time. It’s fascinating and full of valuable information about women’s hormones and how they change throughout our lives. If you’re a woman (or a man who loves a woman) between the ages of say, 35-60 I highly recommend checking out this book. I love that her recommendations start with holistic lifestyle adjustments, rather than jumping straight to meds. Her blog is also quite interesting. I loved her recent post on the benefits of yin yoga, a practice I started last year and cannot get enough of.

O.k. then. I’m off to brew a cup of herbal tea with a side of bitter.

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  • Lakshmi

    Have you thought about getting an Ayurvedic consultation? It may be really helpful.

    • Estelle

      Lakshmi, I’m so curious about Ayurvedic treatments. I’ve tried to self diagnose in the past, but it may be time to find a professional in my area. Do you have any favorite websites to recommend? I’d love any tips.

  • Mel

    What if you kind of rotated the yummy treats throughout the week a few days instead of relying on them every day….like a cup of coffee one morning, a small glass of wine one evening, a cup of green tea a different afternoon, etc….and just enjoyed them without loading them up on any given day or dealing with the dread of eliminating them all. Maybe your body wouldn’t feel the effects too much but you’d still get small doses of food happy, which is kind of my reason for living :) could that work? I’m often an all or nothing kind of a girl so I realize this is way easier said than done…..but this post makes me want to crawl into a beige bedroom wrapped in beige sheets and weep.

    • Estelle

      Melanie, I’m with you on the all or nothing approach. The problem is that if I have wine one day I want it every day! Same goes for cake and coffee. But I think you are familiar with my reasons for living. :) I’m slowly embracing decaf. And I’ve been sleeping better for the past 5 days. Progress!

  • melissa

    oh my….i want to cry for you. vices are imperative joys of daily life. but i totally understand the very important priority of sleep. thinking of you and looking forward to our next vice-driven lunch together!

    • Estelle

      Oh Mel. It’s been rough. And yes, I would like a lunch with bubbles, coffee and sweets sometime very soon please!

  • Monica G. M

    i have life-long insomnia, so i utterly understand the effects of sleep deficiency.

    i’ve recently transitioned to decaff tea. the trick is twofold. 1. look for the best decaff products, they are not all created equal. And of course the big one, 2. perspective. i don’t think of it as something taken away, but rather something added. more motivation to try unusual herbal blends.
    good luck!