Saturday, March 2, 2013

Confession: I'm an recovering addict...Of caffeine that is!

I've been a little absent from the blog again, but I think I had some pretty good reasons!

About a month ago, I had a mild head cold and just wasn't feeling all that great.  Unfortunately, rotations still go on and I was trying to do too much outside of my rotation on top of not feeling well.  I kicked the cold, but with less than 6 hours of sleep a night, I was waking up nauseated, already tired, and compensating with WAY too much caffeine.  I'm talking a couple of cups of coffee in the morning, feeling the slump at noon and adding in a Crystal Light Energize (120 mg of caffeine) for the afternoon!  So over the limit of 200 mg of caffeine a day.  It was time to change before I spiraled even further down. #caffeineaddictionconfession

First thing to go?  Caffeine.  I quit "cold turkey" and had an AWFUL headache the first day.  Yes, I could have had a bit of caffeine to get me over the hump, but my mindset was all or nothing at the time.  I've never been a big pop drinker, but stopping the coffee and Crystal Light Energize addiction was difficult.  So I started by substituting in regular Crystal Light - Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, and Raspberry Ice are my usual go-to flavors! My goal was to drink two water bottles a day (my reusable water bottles are similar to these, so closer to 20 oz a pop, so 40 oz total).
Nalgene On The Fly Water Bottle
I've gradually cut back on the Crystal Light flavors and am drinking mainly straight ice water.  I've found that containers keep me accountable and I tend to drink more water with a straw.  Some days are obviously easier than others. For example, if I know there's an 8 or 10 hour surgery the next day, I'm not about to down a bunch of water the night before or the morning of.  That's setting yourself up for disaster in the OR. Take my word for it, or take Grey's Anatomy word for it. 
Disclaimer: I've never met anyone who has actually resorted to this, including myself. We just have amazing bladder training, which is definitely not good for the bladder either.  #theworstpatients

With the changes to the amount of caffeine I ingest and how much water I was drinking, I noticed within a few days, I was already feeling MUCH better!  However, I was still battling the alarm clock pretty bad in the morning.  I think my problem was I adjusted my sleeping schedule EVERY day based on when I had to be up the next morning, but often stayed up too late because that was what my body was used to.  My sleep schedule was WAY out of whack. So I morphed into an 80 year old.  I started going to bed between 9:15 and 9:45 at night, waking up at 5:30 to 6:00 in the morning (I usually leave for the hospital around 6:30 in the morning).   Yes I know that's actually quite a lot of sleep, but I usually require between 8 and 9 hours of sleep to be happy and function like a normal person.

Within a few days, I was only hitting snooze once (HUGE accomplishment for me who normally hits it for a solid 30 minutes at least).  I stuck to this sleep schedule regardless of what time I needed to be up the next day (i.e. clinic days at 8 am or weekends with no need to wake up!).  I found myself waking up on my own within a half hour or so of when I normally would need to be up, but I was AWAKE and feeling like I actually was getting enough sleep for once.

So at this point I've been off caffeine for about 4 weeks, have upped my water intake to almost 50 oz a day (still short of the 64 oz generally recommended, but I really don't care), and have adjusted my sleep schedule accordingly.  While I've feeling WAY better than I was a month ago, I still feel a little "meh."  I think the next thing I need to add to my "new lifestyle" is exercise. I've had all the excuses in the past that everyone else has had, but time and motivation are really my limiting factors. I like to see results instantly, so I've always struggled with exercise, as I know it takes WEEKS to really see or feel a true difference. 

With that being said, I'm going to take the next few weeks to figure out what works with my schedule and see how I feel after trying it for about a month (during my busiest rotation this year coincidentally).  And since I just broadcast it to the world, I guess I'm going to have to follow through huh?

Disclaimer #2 of this post: I recently injured myself pretty good.  And by recently I mean 3 months ago and I'm still sore and somewhat limited in what I can do.  So this transition to exercise may not be earth shattering, but every little bit helps right? #nolongerhobblingorbeingadvisedtouseacane #IswearI'minmy20s

Anybody else changing their usual lifestyle or routine? Anybody with workout motivation for me? I seem to have lost my motivation back in high school and never really found it again...