Whether you prefer espresso, tea or energy drinks, caffeine can feel like an important part of our daily routines. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing—a visit to the coffee shop can be part of your self-care plan or a way to catch up with friends. However, if you’re still feeling tired or sluggish, here are a few tips to help you stay energized throughout the day while curbing your caffeine intake.
1. Stay nourished
Eating regular meals or snacks can help us maintain our energy. When we allow our bodies to become overly hungry or fatigued, we tend to crave carb-rich foods. While sweets, crackers or pasta may satisfy our cravings and give us a small burst of energy, they can also leave us feeling groggy after the fact. Instead, try to prepare snacks in advance that include a combination of carbs, protein and fats. Here are some ideas of satisfying snacks to keep you alert throughout the day:
Eating a variety of nutritious foods can help us feel fuller and more energized for longer.
2. Move your body
When we move our bodies, we tend to get a rush of adrenaline, which can help us feel more awake and alert. Don’t worry about committing to a full-blown workout that will make you sweat. Taking a walk, going at an easy pace on the elliptical and stretching can all help you get your blood pumping. Try to schedule a workout at The Rec, take a lap around the block or go for a casual bike ride between classes. Moving your body will help you feel better, and it can serve as a small break from studying.
Tip: Try to avoid exercising or moving your body late at night or before you go to bed. This can make it more difficult to fall asleep (and stay asleep).
3. Try aromatherapy
Smell has a powerful effect on our minds. If you’re looking for an easy caffeine substitute, aromatherapy may just be the next best thing. By mixing different essential oils together, you can create your own customized scent to help you feel energized, focused or relaxed. Here are some combinations to try if you want to feel more energized throughout the day:
Essential oils: Lemon, eucalyptus and/or peppermint
How to use:
Tip: Students can get free sample-sized aromatherapy bottles from the Figueroa Family Wellness Suite on the 3rd floor of Wardenburg Health Center or stop by the Apothecary Pharmacy to purchase full-sized bottles.
4. Take a power nap
If you’re feeling tired or groggy during the day, consider taking a short nap between classes. Napping for 15 to 30 minutes has been shown to help improve mood, focus and alertness. Opt for a quiet place to hit snooze or visit one of our Relaxation Stations to sleep in a specialized nap pod. Relaxation Stations are available for free and are located on the main floor of the Student Recreation Center as well as the 3rd floor of Wardenburg Health Center.
5. Set yourself up for long-term success
While these quick fixes can help us in the moment, building long-term habits can help us feel more energized on a regular basis. Set yourself up for long-term success by getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re a night owl, it can be helpful to create a relaxing nighttime routine to help you wind down at the end of the day. For instance, try putting your phone and computer away at least one hour before you plan to go to bed. Electronic devices can stimulate your brain and make it more difficult to relax (and sleep). Instead, opt for activities that can help your body calm down, like reading a book, listening to meditations, taking a shower or stretching.
There are a number of resources available to help you get a better night’s sleep and manage related issues, like stress or anxiety. Here are a few to try:
- Free apps
If you’re having sleep difficulties, it may be beneficial to try out free apps like CBT-i Coach to track your sleep. These kinds of apps can help you develop better sleep habits, improve your sleep environment and learn techniques to alleviate insomnia.
- Healthy Living workshop
Join CAPS for a free Healthy Living workshop each week. They’ll cover topics related to general health and wellness, including body image, nutrition/eating, physical activity, sleep, general self-care and stress management. To sign up, visit your MyCUHealth portal.
- Peer Wellness Coaching
You can also meet one-on-one with a trained peer wellness coach. They are familiar with a variety of issues college students face every day, including stress, relationships, time management, self-image, sleep, self-care, finances, goal setting and more.