Kick­ing the habit

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

DEAR AN­NIE >> I used to drink cof­fee only now and then, just for en­joy­ment. But since my job has be­come more in­tense and stress­ful, I’ve found my­self need­ing at least a cup a day to keep me alert and func­tion­ing at full ca­pac­ity. I don’t like that I’m de­pen­dent on caf­feine now. I no­tice that when I haven’t had cof­fee by noon or so, I feel crabby and headachey. So I keep drink­ing it daily so I can get my work done. Is there some al­ter­na­tive? I want to be able to work with­out re­ly­ing upon ev­ery­one’s fa­vorite bean.

— Caf­feine De­pen­dent

DEAR CAF­FEINE DE­PEN­DENT >> If caf­feine is the only thing you are try­ing to quit, then you are in pretty good shape. How­ever, if you re­ally want to stop drink­ing cof­fee, there are lots of great al­ter­na­tives. Matcha tea is a very pop­u­lar one. It is a form of green tea made by steam­ing and grind­ing the leaves of the Camel­lia sinen­sis plant. In con­trast to drink­ing green tea, you are get­ting the en­tire leaf with matcha.

A sec­ond al­ter­na­tive could be lemon wa­ter. While it won’t give you quite the jolt of caf­feine, it will pro­vide your body with lots of nu­tri­tious vi­ta­min C. Chicory root and B vi­ta­mins also help with en­ergy lev­els. Ginseng is found in many pop­u­lar en­ergy drinks.

Be­com­ing de­pen­dent on cof­fee is a le­git­i­mate con­cern, and it can pro­duce headaches and all sorts of other prob­lems.

But my real con­cern is the stress of your job. Stress is a lot more dan­ger­ous than caf­feine. I would have an hon­est talk with your boss about your work­load. Do it in a very pro­fes­sional man­ner — not com­ing from a place of lazi­ness but rather want­ing to make sure your body is able to do the work de­manded of you at an op­ti­mal pace. Some­times set­ting bound­aries for your­self is the health­i­est thing you can do for all par­ties in­volved.

DEAR AN­NIE >> I have two best friends from col­lege. I have good re­la­tion­ships with both of them, but one is much more emo­tion­ally avail­able. The other is hard to pin down. When we want to hang out as a group — which takes co­or­di­nat­ing, as we’ve since moved to dif­fer­ent states — he more of­ten than not makes ex­cuses to get out of meet­ing up. I don’t think he’s lost in­ter­est in be­ing our friend. Dur­ing col­lege, he was su­per down to do stuff with us all the time. But now that there’s dis­tance and lo­gis­tics in­volved, we don’t ap­pear to be worth the ef­fort. We’ve brought this up to him be­fore, that it hurts us to feel like he doesn’t care. His de­fense is that he “cares about ev­ery­one equally,” so we’re not given any sort of ex­tra ef­fort for be­ing closer-than-nor­mal friends. How do we deal with this? I know we can’t force him to make him­self avail­able, but it is heart­break­ing to watch a years­long re­la­tion­ship fiz­zle due to some­thing so mea­ger as dis­tance. — An­gry at Apa­thetic

Amigo

DEAR AN­GRY >> Best friends might not be around all the time or even most of the time, but they’re there when you need them. What mat­ters is that you can still count on this amigo when it counts. In the mean­time, stop putting in ex­tra ef­fort to co­or­di­nate with him if it’s caus­ing you to re­sent him. Give him some time and space, and let him reach out when he’s ready to com­mit to get­ting to­gether. Dis­tance — whether of space or years — is not enough to dis­solve the bonds of true friend­ship.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http:// www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing.com for more in­for­ma­tion. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­ators.com.

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