As my Instagram feed can testify, I love me a good cup of coffee. I think that there is a great culture around coffee, such as the Swedish fika or the tendency for college students to get together in coffee shops. I have made friends with not just the staff at Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue’s TWIGS café, but also with its other regular patrons, making living in the area a lot more fun when I cross paths with them on a day-to-day basis.
But there is a dark side to coffee—and not just for those who drink their coffee black. It often feels like the dependence of so many on coffee is the unfortunate necessity of a society focused on productivity in terms of money-making and impressing others by having a certain personal look and certain material possessions.
In other words, there is no way we can do everything we are pressured to do in order to be considered “productive” or “successful” while getting enough rest.
I mention “rest” and not “sleep” because I don’t think the solution is to make sure to sleep eight or nine hours a night. To feel rested implies so much more than that. Of everything that it entails, I feel like there are two things that are routinely not taken care of.
The first is what goes on in our heads. Think about the number of thoughts that roll around in your mind all day. If you are like most people that I have questioned, in my usual non-scientific scientific poll, you always have a bunch of thoughts moving around, colliding, making you alternatively nervous, distracted, or even sick. How can anyone feel rested when their mind is so, well, restless?
The second is the care we put into the health of our souls. It takes time and effort to nurture one’s soul, time and effort that our restless minds and pressures selves often feel could be put to better use in the short-term so that in the long-term, we can take care of our souls. In other words, we think that if we put off praying, meditating, journaling, fasting, reading Sacred Writings, so that we can take care of other things, we will have a mind that is more rested and thus be able to take care of our souls better.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but for me, that time never comes. If I don’t take care of my spiritual health today on account of trying to free up the time to do it later, I never take care of it.
And so, we drink coffee. The International Coffee Organization estimates that 152.2 million bags of coffee were consumed in the 2015 calendar year. That’s a mind-boggling 9.132 billion kilograms of the stuff. And that’s not counting tea, chocolate, sugar, and energy drinks—all the other stimulants that we use to keep going.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen to the global consumption of coffee if it were instead part of an overall healthy lifestyle rather than one of the fuels we use to keep going. What if we instead turned to a healthier fuel, something that filled our souls, hearts, and minds with an endless supply of “clean” energy?
17 thoughts on “Coffee: From Crutch to Companion”
Great job highlighting the vast difference between rest and sleep. Physical and mental self care is crucial to de-stressing from the day so we don’t dream about the issues we are facing. Great post!
Thank you Bethany! Have you ever posted anything about this topic? If so, I would love for you to link it here to help those interested read more about this topic!
I find that coffee makes me jittery. I love the idea of a warm cup of coffee on a cold day but the outcome is not usually good. So, I resign myself to decaf (which is not any better considering the decaffeination process) and wait for a day when my need for something warm in the morning to wake me up is over!
I haven’t had time to read about the decaffeination process… And I’m scared to, because sometimes I just want a coffee and I take a decaf for the same reason! I also like hot cocoa in the morning… But also, a warm drink just for the sake of it, once in awhile, is OK, no?
Great post Sahar! My dad for one relies on coffee, while I have a large dependence of ‘tea’ to keep me going. So many friends and family members ‘joke’ about how much we drink, without actually stopping us to ask why we’re so caught up on it – why do we need it to keep us going? Isn’t there better ways to de-stress and look after ourselves? Will be taking this reflections into the rest of the week and weekend – thank you!
Thank you Fi! Your comment about stopping to wonder why you need it to keep going is really fascinating, I never thought about asking my friends that. I think I just might start–and maybe we could support each other in achieving a better balance… Thank you so much for that thoughts!
PS: What kind of tea? 😉
I’m with you. Funny you bring it up as that is exactly what I’ve been working hard on lately. Trying to get enough sleep and rest so I don’t feel the need for so much caffeine. It’s no easy feat! It’s all part of that great balancing act of life.
Oh good luck Melanie! How is it going for you? How are you managing to cut back and say no so as to be able to sleep and rest enough? If you have ever blogged about it, drop a link, I’m sure there is more than one person *coughsmecoughs* that would be interested!
I have not blogged about it yet but I should! Some days it’s going great and others not so much. I don’t need coffee every day but I still need tea at least every day!
If you do, please come back to drop your link for both me and others to read! I’d love to know more about your thoughts on this as well as your experience!
I’m afraid it is a rough work in-progress. But I started blogging about it.
I love coffee. But it’s seriously no substitute for sleep.
Agreed! Although it would be great to have a few extra hours a day… Oh well! Learning to be even more efficient, it is 😉
I truly believe that it is definitely psychological our dependency on certain substances and mine is definitely coffee. It is something to help fill in the day at work or in the morning and is part of our ritual. But I do agree it would be far better for us to fulfil ourselves with something more than that. 🙂
So in more important news, how do you take your coffee? 😉 I wonder how to achieve a healthy relationship with coffee — as a chosen pick-me-up rather than a must-have….
Not a Coffee lover. But I have to drink around 4-5 teas daily to be energetic and finish my work. Good read!
I’m glad you liked it, Nisha! Are you also trying to decrease your tea intake?