When I hit 30 my PMS began to become an out of body experience. I would hear myself muttering discontents and wonder who was this person who had taken over my body for 12 hours? I started to wonder: Why can’t this happen while I am sleeping?
PMS is certainly not an excuse for behaving badly. But dang, is it ever a challenge to keep my words and behaviour under control. I find the most important thing is to be aware of it. If I feel myself becoming irritable, I say to Dave “Apparently taking the garbage out of this can is making me way more angry than it should. It’s possible that I am going to say something that I do not really mean between now and bedtime.” In others words, please cut me some slack where required.
I know this sounds so cheesy, but this primes Dave for what’s coming and let’s him know that no matter what I say I am trying my best to control my behaviour but that the challenge has been upped considerably.
About 2 months ago, the crazies hit an all time high. I felt like I was on a wild roller coaster ride, strapped in and not allowed to get off. I was talking myself down and out of different situations that would normally roll off my back all day. It was exhausting.
What was different that day? I had had 3 cups of coffee, which was unusual for me. Apparently, it was an unwelcome collision of molecules in my body. I decided that I needed to make sure it would not happen again.
I know that – for me – it’s way easier to quit cold turkey than to have something in between*. I respond to rules. But I just could not imagine never having the delicious brown elixir of the gods again. And, coffee is not just a beverage, it’s a ritual. How could I ever replace it? Plus, I was sure my receptors were addicted to it and there would be headaches in revolt, which I have little tolerance for.
Instead of going cold turkey, I decided to come up with some rules*. I would only drink coffee on weekends, if I really “needed” a coffee on a weekday I would allow it and I would replace my coffee in the morning with a cup of orange pekoe tea, which still has caffeine (weaning) and also has a small place in my heart as a ritual.
I was completely skeptical that this would work but I have stuck to the rules for 10 weeks now, with one blip. One morning, I felt like I really needed a coffee. I was expecting it to be a magical. It fell flat, of course. Poor coffee. It was unfair to put so much pressure on you.
As a result, I developed a key question to ask as I walk up to the Starbucks Barista – what is going to make you feel better in a Real way: drinking the coffee or choosing an alternative? Hands down, when I use choose an alternative I know I will feel better about myself.
Oh and by the way, the crazies have all but disappeared, which I also find astonishing. Those molecules mixing together. We are just like one big chemistry set.
What’s your strategy for kicking a habit?
*A shout out to my sister-in-law because when I mentioned this to her she came up with the brilliant idea of changing ”not having any” rule to another rule that I would have to follow.
*update – Gretchen Rubin’s 4 personality types describes abstainers vs. moderators … can you move through the spectrum or do you find one works better for you?