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We Are…The Starbucks Generation

What would you rank your energy level right now? Level one is no energy and level ten is tons of energy. I’m going to guess it’s probably under level five. Unless you’ve had one, two or maybe even three cups of coffee today then you might be at a level seven. 

Our energy levels are an extremely huge problem. Sleeping, eating healthy, and exercising are being treated like insignificant factors in our quest for optimal energy. Instead, people are relying on quick energy fixes, like coffee, soda, energy drinks, and sugar to get them through the day. The problem is, people aren’t realizing how much of a bad habit this really is. Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen wrote in a recent Glamour Magazine article, “They tend to see energy as something they can go out and buy- in a pill, Red Bull can, or ‘caution, contents are hot’ containers.” These quick fixes might give you a burst of energy to make it through your test, but your health will be affected negatively in the long run.


For example, you wake up in the morning after having only four hours of sleep, you’re exhausted, and so you have 2 cups of coffee on the go instead of eating breakfast. This helps you get enough energy to make it through the morning. At noon you’re really tired again. Your practically panicking because you have homework to do, work to get to, and a social life you want to enjoy. You decide to pick up a meal and a soda at a fast food restaurant, scarf it down, and get back to your day. After your evening has dragged on long enough you are ready for dinner. You’re too busy to cook a good meal so you and your roommates order pizza and sodas for dinner. After dinner you realize you have a five-page paper due tomorrow so you drink three Red Bulls and stay up practically all night to finish the paper. You wake up after having two hours of sleep. You’re exceedingly tired, so you stop at Starbucks on the way to class and order the largest coffee possible. Do you see where this is going? It’s going to be the same thing everyday. You eat sugar for a quick energy boost, but when that wears off you are probably more tired than you were before, which means you will pick up more sugar. No sleep, no healthy food, no exercise, and no break.

Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen also believe that a major contributing factor to our increase in caffeine use is we are simply doing way too much. “We think a 30-year old woman back in 1980 would’ve run circles around you poor, tired souls these days. Part of the reason is that, as a young woman (or man), you have more distractions than any generation before you- cell phones, treos, TiVo, Youtube, it’s endless. And your schedules are way too packed. There’s no time during the day when you’re not doing something.” You need to be aware that caffeine can really affect your health. Antidrug.com wrote that caffeine can cause- restlessness, anxiety, irritability, muscle tremors, sleeplessness, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, abnormal heart rhythms, and several other problems.
The four things you need to get out of your fatigue filled rut:


1. Sleep.
Without the proper amount of sleep your body can’t conserve and restore its energy. Most people need at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause unwanted irritability, mood swings, sluggishness, cognitive errors, impaired memory, distracted driving, weight gain, and
diabetes. Using caffeine to stay awake during the day might also cause trouble sleeping at night.


2. Healthy food.
Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, healthy omega-3, and monounsaturated fats will give you the proper fuel you need. Getting rid of processed foods and sugars will make a huge difference in your energy level. Dr. Julie Holland has a junk-in-junk-out philosophy. “Your body is an engine, if you don’t give it high-grade fuel it won’t run at top speeds.” Once you really start eating high nutrient foods, you will notice a big difference within your body and mind.


3. Exercise.
It’s the absolute best energy booster. Regular exercise helps relieve stress and gain energy. A quote I always like to remember when debating to exercise or not, said by Edward Stanley, is, “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” The benefits of exercising are so high it’s completely worth every minute you put towards it. Always remember, Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen’s exercise motto, “a fit body is more efficient- it takes less energy to do the same tasks- which means that every movement you make will feel easier and less tiring.”


4. Do Less.
People today are doing way too many things that they really don’t need to do. Try to focus on activities that really mean something to you. Doing less might mean having to say no sometimes and that’s really okay. It’s your life, you can be selfish when picking what you want to do and don’t.
Follow Dr. Holland’s rule “Think about the 1,500 things on your to-do list. Now think about why you’re doing each one. Does it make you happy, earn you needed money, or benefit you in any other profound way? If the answer is no, cut it.”

Cutting back on caffeine, giving yourself the appropriate time to sleep, spending time planning and eating a healthy meal, and getting a workout will be good for your health right now and it will be good for your health for the rest of your life. By doing this you will regain control over your life and become dependent free of caffeine. Instead of being the Starbucks Generation, let’s be the fresh and ready for anything generation.
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