6 NATURAL WAYS TO INCREASE ENERGY

As we hit midterm season an energy boost is needed


By: Mar Huguet


Now that the beginning of the spring semester is behind us, it becomes hard to find the motivation to make it to midterms. These six natural ways to increase energy will have you finishing up the academic year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.


You wake up one day, and feel your stamina isn't aligned to your usual day-to-day energy. So, you put on your shoes, go to the store, and look for some vitamins, herbs, and other supplements touted as energy boosters. However, there's little to no scientific evidence that energy boosters, such as ginseng, Guyana, or chromium picolinate actually work. Thankfully, there are many techniques to naturally enhance your energy levels (which your wallet and body will thank you for!).


1. Control stress:

Stress-induced emotions consume a great deal of energy. Simply talking with a friend or relative, joining a support group, or seeing a therapist can all help diffuse some stress. Relaxation methods such as meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, or tai chi are also some effective tools for reducing stress.


2. Lighten your load:

Overwork is one of the leading causes of fatigue, which many fail to recognize. Typical examples of being overworked include professional and social obligations or trying to streamline your "must-do" activities list. It is recommended to set your priorities in terms of the most important to least important tasks, and/or consider asking for help if necessary — there's no shame in needing help!


3. Exercise:

Ah exercise, the activity some dread the most. However, exercise is guaranteed to decrease sleep complaints and insomnia, as it gives your cells more energy to burn and circulate oxygen. Exercising also leads to higher brain dopamine levels, which helps elevate your mood. When walking, you can pick up the pace periodically - for example, walk 1 minute, then run 1 minute - to get some health benefits.


4. Avoid smoking:

Smoking siphons off your energy by causing insomnia and affecting your sleep. The nicotine in tobacco is a stimulant, resulting in a speeding up of your heart rate, rising blood pressure, and brain-wave activity stimulation associated with wakefulness, making it harder to fall asleep. And once you do fall asleep, its addictive power can kick in and awaken you with cravings.


5. Restrict your sleep:

Now, this may sound confusing considering the sleep tips, but if you think you might be sleep-deprived, try getting less sleep. Determining how much sleep your body needs can reduce the time you spend in bed not sleeping. This process makes it easier to fall asleep, and promotes more restful sleep in the long run. Try to avoid napping during the day, and aim for about 4 hours of sleep the first night, slowly adding sleep time on successive nights.


6. Eat for energy:

To avoid the lag in energy that typically occurs from eating quickly absorbed sugars or refined starches, try eating foods with a low glycemic index, for example, whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils.