Tips for Staying Energized

So I am taking summer classes for six weeks, and I live about an hour away from school, slightly more if traffic is particularly heavy. This results in about two hours, maybe more, of being on a bus every day, and about ten total hours of being in not-my-house every day.  I don’t know what it is exactly about being in cars or buses and also being surrounded by people that my body finds so tiring, but when I get home I am exhausted. It’s been about three weeks and through sheer need to stay awake during the day, I’ve found some things that work for me in keeping me more energized and alert.

1. Drink water. I have a tall glass of water every morning and I try to drink the equivalent of two or three more throughout the day, plus another glass with dinner and one before bed. I live in an especially dry area, and now that it’s summer it is just ridiculously hot and dry. So water is important. Especially if you tend to drink a lot of caffeinated beverages, that are around water neutral (ie. your body doesn’t actually benefit from the water in them), you can easily trick yourself into thinking you’re hydrated when you aren’t. That said…

2. Drink tea. Or coffee. I prefer tea. I like a lightly sweetened black tea in the morning and an unsweetened chair or green iced tea in the afternoon as a pick-me-up. Tea has near to no calories, and green tea is allegedly good for you I think, but mostly tea is just refreshing  and good and comforting. And it wakes you up. I like to sit with my morning tea at home, but since I commute I’ve found the optimal time to drink liquids is about an hour before I have to leave. Otherwise I will really have to pee. As a sign of how much of an addict I am, I always carry a variety of tea bags with me everywhere I go just in case I’m able to find a microwave and some water.

3. If you can, nap. If I have time, I’ll find a nice shady spot on the grass and use my backpack as a pillow. Napping is just part of life in many other cultures, as well as in our Great Ape cousins, but here it’s been slightly stigmatized, which is a shame. If your body is telling you it’s tired, sometimes it’s best to just give it what it wants. If you can’t take a nap…

4. Give yourself time to rest. This need not be in the form of sleeping. Your body and brain will still benefit from some designated rest time. On your way home or when you get there, give yourself some time to just isolate yourself, space out, listen to music, watch the Daily Show or your favorite webseries, read a book. You probably have to make yourself dinner soon and have like five more things you need to do today, but right now just chill.

5. Make the distinction between things you do for The Man, and things you do for you. Homework, class, work, laundry–these are things I do for The Man.  Cooking, reading, mending clothes, coding–these are things I do for me. I try to recognize when something I’m doing that my brain starts to process as a “task” or “work” is actually something fun or relaxing that I enjoy doing. Certain chores can feel calming, and not all of your self-improvement projects have to be miserable. Try to get in a few things every day that feel rewarding. It’ll help keep you motivated for tomorrow and add variety to your day.

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