9 Ways to Naturally Increase Your Energy

     As university students, being tired is a daily activity. With work, school, extracurriculars, and a social life to balance, there never seems to be enough sleep during the week. We all have had those days where we have no energy to be ourselves and would rather crawl back under the covers of our bed. Many of us alleviate the energy drain with caffeine including coffee and energy drinks. There is nothing wrong with a morning cup of coffee, however, drinking caffeine in excess (especially if you go over 400 milligrams) can cause health risks such as headaches, dizziness, agitation, nausea and anxiety. The goal is to feel the best you can everyday, so definitely drink caffeine responsibly!

     Next time you’re in a low energy mood, take some time to reflect on your lifestyle, habits and eating patterns. They may indicate why it's hard to get through class. There are many natural ways to increase your energy level and your daily mood. Simple changes make a big impact!



     1. Make the Most of Breakfast

Nobody lies when they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you sleep, your body works hard to digest yesterday’s dinner. When you wake up, you start at zero, meaning that your body needs fuel. Having no breakfast can not only make you sluggish, but can affect your cognitive abilities. You also have a greater chance of experiencing dizziness and headaches. Opt for whole grain foods with fiber (like cereals and toasts) and proteins (like eggs and yogurt). Limit your consumption of simple carbohydrates like sodas and processed food. While these foods can give you a quick boost of energy, you will end up feeling tired again after your blood sugar spikes and crashes.     


     2. Substitute Caffeine

Caffeinated drinks can give you a boost, but drinks like Green Tea, Smoothies, and vegetable juices will make your pick-me-up last long term. Green Tea gives you a caffeine-like effect without jitters, making it easier for you to focus. Green Tea also has added health benefits of lowering cholesterol and regulating glucose. On the other hand, smoothies and vegetable juices are incredibly customizable, and each ingredient will have a different health benefit while giving you the energy you need to power through the day.


     3. Hydrate with water

Feeling tired is greatly linked to dehydration. Since our bodies are entirely made of water, small inconsistencies can affect our energy levels. It is always important to have water on hand so you can drink when you are thirsty. Carrying a water bottle to class is always a smart idea. Many fruits and vegetables also have a large percentage of water in them. They make great snacks between classes. Try cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, oranges or watermelon.


     4. Small Exercise

When you are fatigued, the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, giving your muscles a boost guarantees you to sleep better at night. A better nights sleep will combat morning sleepiness. In addition, small amounts of exercise releases endorphins and boosts cardiovascular health which can improve your endurance to get through the day. It is recommended that you partake in 30 of moderate-intense activity. Exercises to consider are yoga, zumba, swim, meditation, running, and spin (all offered through Fit at Simmons)!


     5. Control Stress

Emotions caused by stress consume your energy quickly, managing it is critical. Talking to someone you trust, such as a friend or family member is a good way to vent frustration and anxiety, in turn relieving stress. Feelings of stress can affect your concentration, productivity, energy level, and mood. Going for a walk, meditation, light exercise, reading, tai-chi, forms of self-care, and relaxation therapies can help lessen stress and anxiety. Overwork from school can also result deteriorating physical and mental health. If school work becomes too much, a good strategy is to rework your schedule. Prioritize your most important assignments and extracurricular activities. Try to cut out unimportant activities consuming your time. Seek extra help in any classes if necessary. If stress becomes chronic, look towards the help of a medical professional.    


    6. Adopt a Strict Sleep Schedule

This may not be plausible every day, but going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day with no interruptions will do wonders for your energy and mood in the morning. To increase the quality of your sleep, stay away from screens thirty minutes before you go to bed. Reading a book instead helps boost brain power and relieves stress, giving you a more restful night. Get around eight hours of sleep. Getting too much sleep (over nine hours) can still drain your energy. The point is consistency. Consistency in your sleep schedule will allow you to wake up easier.


     7. Surround Yourself with Positive Reminders

College is never perfect. You won’t always get the best grades or the biggest achievements and sometimes, you can’t help but feel down. Though it is completely normal to feel sad, these feelings can escalate, zapping your energy with them. Always consult someone you trust if you feel sad on a daily basis or if it’s something you cannot control. However, for the short term, you must always remind yourself of your awesomeness. Write notes to yourself, give yourself something to look forward to each day, do whatever you can to begin each morning with a positive attitude. Surrounding yourself with good people can help you achieve this. Take a moment to think about what good means to you and associate it with people you care about. Surrounding yourself with as much positivity as possible can help you feel revitalized instead of energy-stricken.   


     8. Take Breaks to Stand Up        

If you’re sitting for long increments of time, taking periodic breaks to clear your head is beneficial to your energy levels and your sanity. Moving around a little will get blood flowing in your body again. Try to take a brisk walk outside (simply spending time outside has health benefits) or just take a stroll through your dorm halls in order to get your focus back to the task at hand. Small breaks, especially between long study sessions (hello finals!) are necessary. Going out with friends or loved ones will significantly boost your mood, so plan an event to look forward to!  


     9. Wear Your Bold Clothes on Exam Days

Some people don’t believe that colors affect your energy level and mood, but it never hurts to try. Bright colors (especially red and orange) give off strong and powerful energies while pink gives a calming energy (better for a date night, not exam day). If bright colors aren’t your thing, consider wearing your best outfit if you need a boost of energy. Self-confidence and energy level are directly correlated. Confidence can increase your productivity and level of focus, which is perfect for your exams. Try it or do whatever makes you confident!