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Plenty Woman Weekly
April 27, 2016
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Lake Arrowhead, Quitting Coffee, and Amanda Peet

You know how you come back from vacation with new resolutions of things that you finally feel empowered to do? Well, you have to guard carefully against such lofty goals, as you could end up like me – spending what should be relaxing post-vacation time at home bedridden with nausea and a splitting headache because you quit coffee.

We spent this past weekend at a cabin in Lake Arrowhead.

It was a picture-perfect place with a fireplace that we spent most of our time in front of, playing backgammon, reading, and watching movies. But as lovely as it was, we only had one full day there and for most of it I was an anxious mess.

I hated the anxiety, but I also hated the guilt.

I finally get what I want – a weekend away to relax – and I can’t do it. There’s no work to blame it on. No to-do’s at all. Only me and my anxiety.

Thankfully, Andy reminded me the first day of vacation is always like that. It takes everybody time to unwind and I’m not a terrible, messed up person because I can’t relax on cue. With just one full day there, he said, I may not even feel the benefit of it until I got back.

Well, he was right, and I felt it kick in Monday night, when I felt more relaxed than I have in, well, forever.

I credited the trip for relaxing me, but also the fact that I’d only had one cup of anxiety-inducing coffee that day – my last cup, that morning, before we left Lake Arrowhead.

Then Tuesday morning hit.

I was sluggish and had trouble getting started.

It wasn’t long before the headache set it, but that I had been expecting.

What I didn’t anticipate was the nausea that crept up on me over the course of the day. By late afternoon I was, as I said, bedridden, going through caffeine detox.

I got through the night thanks to club soda, tomato soup, and chocolate cake.

And I woke up this morning feeling great.

Clearly, I underestimated this. But I’ve quit coffee half a dozen times before and don’t remember it being this bad.

I know what you might be thinking because it’s what I would be thinking – why didn’t I wean myself off?

Because quitting cold turkey is what I do, be it coffee, alcohol, or drugs. If I was capable of tapering down, I probably wouldn’t need to quit coffee at all.

That said, if you’re not an addict like me, by all means, taper down if you can!

It just occurred to me I haven’t mentioned why I quit coffee. The seed was planted by a piece I published the Saturday morning before we left town on our trip – 24 Ways to 24/7 Anxiety Relief. I’d love to know what you think of these ideas, as well as any others you would add.

One bright spot during my caffeine detox was reading an essay that actress Amanda Peet wrote for The Lenny Letter (if you don’t already, I highly recommend you subscribe to this).

In Never Crossing the Botox Rubicon, Amanda Peet writes:

“Since my show got canceled, I have plenty of time to talk about what it feels like to be bombarded with wrinkles and, at the exact same time, try to remain gainfully employed as an actress. Or employed in any way, shape, or form as an actress. Recently, I was told I was ineligible for a movie because I wasn’t ‘current’ enough.”

The show she’s talking about is Togetherness and the subject of her essay has everything to do with why I loved watching her in this show (and why I’m going to miss it so much).

Amanda Peet played a woman who knew she was showing her age but never seemed to try and hide it. Every time I watched her in it, I felt inspired and relieved – if she can be this beautiful, sexy, vivacious, confident, youthful woman with wrinkles, then so can I.

I hope you read her piece and, if you haven’t seen Togetherness, check out their two (and only) seasons on HBO.

Wishing you an empowering week,

Meredith

P.S. I wrote a little piece for a friend of mine’s website that you might want to check out, too – The Sweetest Boy She Never Knew. Clearly, my anxiety over how I handle relationships goes back a long way.

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