5 easy peasy ways to switch your caffeine for a different booster!
Since I was diagnosed with depression my doctor warned me about drinking too much caffeine. More than 2 cups of coffee a day and my stress levels will rise, counter-acting the anti-depressants I was taking. I was also told to avoid energy drinks as they are not only really unhealthy, but the caffeine intake from one drink could cause me to have a panic attack.
One of the symptoms of depression is perpetual tiredness of not wanting to do anything because you can’t bring yourself to do it. Now I know that’s not just a symptom of depression, but one of genuinely being tired, drained, or stressed out. So coffee is my best friend, especially when I have to bang out a 3000 word essay. So like many students, its not uncommon to average 6 cups of coffee a day when university gets busy.
But... all that caffeine can actually make you more stressed out, so I had to find alternatives to keep me awake, and actually can help through the stress period of deadlines.
1. Fill a Glass with Water
This sounds a little stupid, but one of the main causes of fatigue is dehydration. So it’s no surprise that after a minute of drinking a cold glass of water you suddenly feel alert. To add that extra zing, add some lemon juice or lemon zest to give you that instant alertness.
2. Have a Handful of Nuts
A handful of nuts are packed with fibre and protein and are a source of slow releasing energy. Add them into a smoothie, porridge or cereal in the morning to give you the energy you need throughout the day and reduce the coffee intake.
3. Have a Load of Herbs
Okay, not literally, but in teas. Yes we have all heard herbal teas are good for the immune system etc etc… but green tea, cayenne pepper tea, and peppermint tea have additional health benefits. Peppermint tea is an instant revitalizer. Not only a breath freshener but according to Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, peppermint stimulates ‘the same nerve that’s activated when you revive someone with smelling salts’!
4. Boost your Vitamin B
B vitamins help your body metabolise the foods you eat, and help with the production of energy. So it’s a no brainer that boosting your vitamin B intake can increase your energy. The Berocca tablet that you put into water uses this vitamin B to boost energy, however you can get cheaper alternatives and chewable vitamin B tablets to give you that leg up.
5. Decaf Coffee
Decaf coffee as stated has no caffeine so you don’t have that boost, however if you are used to having that caffeine boost from regular coffee, decaf can ‘psychologically’ give you similar feelings to when you drink regular coffee. It basically works like a placebo without having all the caffeine that causes the stress. Win win!
Besides from substituting caffeine for other food and drink, regular exercise really does improve feelings of fatigue and tiredness. It gives you more energy and helps with motivation which can also combat those drowsy-nearly-deadline-day feelings! Take a regular jog, walk, cycle or check out your local gym for class timetables a couple of times a week and you'll soon see the benefits!
Jasmin Vincent lives at Liberty Dock, at our Student Accommodation Leeds. She is studying History of Art at The University of Leeds, and is currently in her 2nd year.