Who doesn’t feel worn down from time to time? It’s natural to feel tired during the semester, especially as a working adult student. You’re juggling what seems like a million and one responsibilities, and sleep might not be too high on your list of priorities - even if it’s what you really want! So how do you boost your energy? It’s really not as difficult as you might think.
1. Sleep routine
Our bodies operate more efficiently when they’re conditioned to a routine. And having a consistent sleep schedule is a big part of how to boost energy. It’s a given that if you stay up all night cramming for a test or working on a paper last minute, you’re going to be operating at a serious deficit. But what if you’re up late studying two nights and going to bed early two nights, with a normal bedtime mixed in? That’s probably worse than your one night on Team No Sleep. If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, figure out exactly how much sleep you need to function, and stick with that amount every night. It actually might be less than you think
2. Eat for energy
We all know food fuels the mind. You’re already eating, why not eat smart? It’s a simple fix for how to boost energy. Eat healthy and fresh, of course. But also eat foods that will stick with you. Keep snacks close by that combine protein and complex carbs - like whole grains, nuts, sweet potatoes and brown rice - because they’re processed differently in your body. The protein will hit your blood sugar quickly, and the complex carbs will burn slowly to carry you through.
Another great food to add to your breakfast or snack is chia seeds. These little guys pack a huge punch when it comes to boosting your energy! They are a fantastic addition to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies and salads.
3. Drink plenty of water
Your vehicle won’t run without fuel, but it’s really not going to get too far without the oil. You’ll blow it up! Water is the oil our bodies need. When you’re properly hydrated, you’ll feel better. One of the signs of dehydration is exhaustion. Make sure you’re sipping on water throughout the day, every day.
4. Vitamin B12
Oh vitamins, you make the world go round. You affect everything, and we take you for granted. Vitamin B12 can be a make or break in how energetic you’re feeling. We do not naturally produce vitamin B12, and we have to consume it from our food or supplements. Fun fact: plants don’t produce vitamin B12 either. So individuals who follow vegetarian or vegan diets may not be getting the recommended daily dose. If you’re looking to get your vitamin B12 from your diet, you should eat fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk or milk-based products.
This one might be controversial, but wait a minute and hear this out. Caffeine is not bad in moderation, that’s the key. We don’t want you going out and consuming so much caffeine your heart is palpitating and your hands are shaking. If you want to get a kick in the morning with a cup of coffee, or even a double shot of espresso, then go for it! You just need to limit your intake. You also need to recognize that caffeine’s effects could last five or more hours. That’s important to keep in mind when you’re working on your sleep routine.
Initially, it might sound backwards that working out would boost your energy, but it’s true! Your body will respond to the exertion in a positive way. When you’re working out and burning calories, your heart is pumping oxygenated blood harder and faster. That blood will deliver the nutrients your body needs and your energy will be boosted. It’s definitely cyclical, just not in the way you may have originally thought.
7. Only take on what is necessary
Overworking yourself and stressing about all the details and responsibilities in your life is a surefire way to zap your energy. It’s important not to stretch yourself too thin. During the semester, you should really limit what commitments you make and only focus on the tasks that are necessary. If you have a support network around you, you should definitely take advantage of the offers they make to help you! Share responsibility with others. The burden is always lessened when it’s distributed.
There are so many ways to boost your energy. These are just a few helpful, easy tips to get you there. Being a working adult student doesn’t have to be a drag and an energy-suck. Try adopting some of these habits while making the most of your time here at SNU. We believe in you!