It’s nearly the end of the semester, it’s freezing cold outside, and all you can think about is how nice it would be if you could just take a nap on the library table rather than typing up your essay that’s due tomorrow. If this scene sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone. At this point in the semester, it seems that your motivation is nowhere to be found. It can be difficult to keep your energy up when the sun goes down at 5 p.m. and you’re cooped up inside all the time. Rather than reaching for a sugary energy drink (or your fifth cup of coffee), know that there are plenty of natural ways to keep your energy up and stay focused on your work! Here are 10 natural energy boosters that will keep your mind clear and perk you up in the middle of a study sesh.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
I know that your first instinct when you’re tired is to grab the nearest caffeinated beverage. Hear me out: when you’re feeling sluggish, it could be that your body is screaming for water! In a world where there are millions of types of coffee and energy drinks, sometimes we forget the simplest solution is drinking more water. Staying hydrated can keep you from feeling fatigued, so make sure to have a full water bottle with you at all times. Here are a few cute ones that will make it impossible to resist taking a sip every few minutes.
Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee to warm you up in the chilly library, try green tea. Green tea has an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). It’s known to boost energy, increase stamina, and help with staying mentally alert! It also includes a much lesser dose of caffeine than coffee, making it healthier for you to drink. Lovers of matcha will be happy to know that a matcha latte can provide some of the same energy-boosting effects as well.
Do you know someone whose smile is contagious or whose laugh is infectious? Well, you may not know, but a person’s energy is one of the most contagious parts of them! Use your study break to have a quick chat with a high-energy friend who always puts you in a good mood after a conversation. You’ll find yourself perking up just by talking to someone who is energetic. All it takes is a quick phone call to boost your own energy up.
On the flip side, try to avoid talking about negative things with your friends. It’s easy to go in circles talking about everything that is stressing you out, but it will only make you more stressed. Focus on keeping topics light and positive in order to keep yourself from burning out. Though it’s important to set aside time to let things go and get stuff off your chest too.
Take a Hike
When you find yourself in a slump, try and remember the last time you were up and moving. Most likely, it’s probably been a few hours since you’ve gotten up from your desk after committing to an intense study sesh before your final. I have literally kept myself from falling asleep in a class by excusing myself (without disturbing the class) and taking two minutes to simply walk around the building. After those two minutes, I can sit back in class and feel more alert, allowing myself to focus once again. Of course, if you have the time, go ahead and pencil in a quick visit to the gym. That will relieve stress and release endorphins that can keep your spirits up during studying season.
Do a Mini Meditation
We all know that meditation is very relaxing, but did you know that it can also boost your energy? Mental stress can zap our energy as much as physical exertion. We tend to forget how much our mental state can affect us. Meditation calms and clears your mind, reducing the amount of cortisol (our “stress hormone”) in our bodies and boosting our energy by lowering our stress levels. Taking a few minutes at your desk to do a quick deep-breathing exercise, or starting off your mornings with a quick five-minute meditation can keep your mind at peace and your energy up!
Perfect Your Posture
Do you notice yourself slowly sinking down as the hours at the library tick by? Soon you’re a puddle of stress and sleep-deprivation on top of the library table. And the thought of having to write one more word of that 1,000-word essay makes you want to cry. A quick tip to spike your energy up is to simply sit straight. Improving your posture in this simple way can shake some of the fatigue off, and you’re less likely to drift off if your spine is straight. Sitting straight is always better than hunching, and will prevent a sore back the next day, too. We love a tip that kills two birds with one stone.
Take a Guilt-Free Nap
Sometimes college students tend to glorify their lack of sleep. They’ll wear the bags under their eyes like badges of honor that attest to how hard they’re working. I don’t know about you, but I’m always in the most miserable mood if I don’t get enough sleep the night before. My most productive days are always the days where I’ve gotten the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. I have a feeling yours probably are too! If you have been struggling to go to sleep on time the past few nights, take a power nap between classes when you have the time. Your body can’t perform at its best if you’re sleep-deprived. Make sure you’re getting the sleep you need so your energy is always up!
Stay out in the Sun
When Daylight Savings Time comes into effect, it seems like you never see the sun. It’s easy to feel tired when you’re cooped up inside spending countless hours completing assignments. For a quick pick-me-up, try to get as much sunlight as possible! Open your blinds, or step outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air! You’ll feel brighter yourself when you get a dose of vitamin D from the sun.
Eat for Energy
Everyone knows that snacks are one of the best natural energy boosters for any study session. When you pick out your munchies, be sure to choose wisely. Eating foods with a low glycemic index—a.k.a. ones whose sugars absorb slowly—will prevent the crash in energy that can occur after eating something sugary or made of refined starches. Nuts usually make fantastic study snacks, but you can also pick from whole grains and high-fiber vegetables as well.
Crunch It Out
On the topic of snacks, try to include ones that are crunchy! While it seems like a small detail, crunchy foods make your jaw work hard. Waking up your facial muscles can help make you feel more alert. Since you already know that you’ll be snacking while you’re studying, why not choose ones that will keep you awake as you burn the midnight oil?
Surround Yourself with Citrus
Essential oils seem to have taken over the internet, and for good reason! There is a literally an essential oil for every purpose, and there are plenty that can naturally increase your energy! Citrus scents are usually the best for waking you up, so if you have a diffuser, pop a few drops of orange or lemon essential oil to keep your environment smelling wonderful and to keep you from dozing off! If you don’t have a diffuser, there are plenty of rollerball essential oils. Keep them in your backpack to quickly perk you up in the middle of class, at the library, or at the coffee shop.
Do you have any secrets to keep your energy up during finals season? Let us know in the comments below!
Opening image by Alexa Palomo