Hey guys, Happy Monday!!! So if you read yesterday’s post, you know that I’m hard at work studying for exams this week. I don’t think anyone looks forward to exam time, but it has to be done. One thing that I notice during intense study periods is how draining it can be on your body. And not just mentally either. It can be physically and emotional taxing as well. Using up lots of brain power just seems to zap the normal energy I have and puts me in a bit of a funk.
Which got me thinking about strategies on how to boost your energy naturally. So today I thought I’d share a few strategies I use during my study periods to help improve my energy without having to rely on boatloads of caffeine.
1. Pace yourself: Give yourself plenty of time so you aren’t cramming everything the night before the exam. I do this by making sure my notes are up to date and organised in a folder or on my computer. This way when it comes to revision you know where everything is!
2. Early bird gets the worm: Get up early !!! I get up around 6/6:30 am, have a good balanced breakfast and then get right into studying. I am personally more alert in the morning, so study best at this time. The house is also quiet at this time so I can concentrate better.
My current favourite breakfast (click on picture for recipe post)
3. Work in 2 hour blocks: I break up my day into 2 hour increments to give my brain a chance to rest. After the 2 hours is up I take a break for at least 15 – 20 mins, before starting on my next block. How many blocks of study I do in a day depends on what I have coming up.
4. Breathe & stretch: Our bodies were not meant to sit down all day, so get up and move every hour. Take some deep breaths, and do a few stretches to boost your energy and get your blood flowing again. The chart below shows a few simple moves. My personal favourite is #10.
5. Drink up!: Staying hydrated is essential when you are studying or working at a desk for long periods of time. Mild dehydration can cause various bodily systems to slow down, leading to fatigue. Keep a big bottle or glass on your desk and sip often.
6. Eat up! Second to staying hydrated is staying well fuelled. Take time to stop and eat proper meals throughout the day. Focus on good amounts of protein, healthy fats (think nuts, avocado, and olive oil), and low GI carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes, wholegrains) to keep energy levels stable.
7. Music to your ears: This is great when you are in need of a pick-me-up. Blast your favourite piece of music and dance like nobody’s watching. You may feel goofy, but it is such a good release when you’ve been concentrating for long periods of time. Of course this one is best done in the privacy of your own home (the librarians may get angry if you attempt to do this in the middle of the ‘shhhh’ zone). If dancing isn’t your thing, just watch this awesome flashmob. It’s guaranteed to make you smile!
Making my family embarrassed in public. I have no shame.
8. Take a whiff of this peppy mint: Peppermint essential oil has been shown to increase mental clarity and alertness. Take a good whiff or place a dab under your nose when you start to feel fatigued.
9. Exercise: Staying physically active is essential. Use this time to clear your head and release any built up frustration you may have had during the day. It doesn’t have to be a full fledged workout, just 20 minutes will do if that’s all you can afford. But get up, get out, and move!
Sitting down all day does not a tight bottom make! Try the Donkey Kick exercise to tone it up
10. Sleep like a baby: This is my number one tip. “Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory in two distinct ways. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Second, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information” (source). By getting enough sleep you will wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. So go catch some zzzz’s.
11. Wear bright coloured clothing: Brightly coloured hues are associated with a healthy mood and increased energy. Wearing yellow, orange or lilac may help keep you upbeat and on-task. For a similar effect, you can also decorate your office with brightly coloured flowers or artwork.
12. Chew sugar-free gum: A study published in the journal of nutritional neuroscience found that chewing gum can help increase alertness by increasing the heart rate and stimulating the nervous system. My advice? Go for a strong peppermint flavour (see tip #8)
Pick a natural sugar-free gum that, such as this one, sweetened with xylitol
13. Laugh!: Being under the pump for a deadline or exam date can be stressful. Release some built up tension with a good laugh (it’s good for your health too! Read all about that here). Watch a funny youtube clip, look up a joke, or browse your favourite funny website.
14. Reduce sugar and caffeine consumption: Sugar causes drastic fluctuations in blood glucose levels, making you feel more tired in the long run. Stick to low GI snacks like nuts, hardboiled eggs, or an apple to sustain your energy instead. Second to this is reducing caffeine consumption. Caffeine is a stimulant that does help some with concentration, but it’s effects are short term. To cut down on your consumption try rotating coffee with green tea, lemon water or herbal teas to stay hydrated.
15. Plan a reward: Planning to reward yourself after all the hard work is done can really help with motivation. It can be anything from a pedicure, to a new outfit ,or even a night on the town! You deserve it!
One of my favourite rewards: a night out with the gal pals!
Those are my top tips for staying energetic when approaching a hectic deadline such as exams. Hopefully you found a few that you can use in your daily life to boost your productivity. Happy Monday
Have you ever participated in a flashmob?
What are some of your favourite natural energy boosters?