I don't know whether it's my depression, my course, or the ever-increasing old biddy in me, but I always seem to be exhausted. I often find myself having to take a 4 hour nap in the middle of the day, wherever I am - I'm even known as 'the girl that sleeps in lectures' to some of my colleagues. How attractive.
My fatigue can get especially annoying when I am trying to study or revise for exams, so I thought I would share a few of my tips that I use to keep my concentration and keep myself awake.
This is so obvious yet so important and so many people don't stick to a good sleeping routine. Make sure that you are going to bed at a similar time each night and get up at a similar time in the morning. I am absolutely awful at doing this, but I at least make sure I have 8 hours of sleep every night, otherwise I really suffer the next day. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but make sure you get as much as you need for your body. See my tips on sleeping here if you sometimes struggle to get off to snooze-land, and here on how to get up in the mornings.
Take regular breaks
Sometimes I find if I'm really tired and studying, taking a couple of minutes every 15 minutes can help to keep myself awake. Get away from the area you are studying in and walk around the house, or go and talk to someone if you can. Go and eat a bar of chocolate or get a drink.
Don't study in bed
Okay, I always do this. Sometimes my bed is just too tempting to resist. But you know it will just send you to sleep - get up and study at your desk, lazy bones.
Don't fight it
Sometimes you just need a short nap to wake your body up and prepare yourself for more studying. Experts say that you should take less than 30 minutes, but I often sleep for an hour or so and wake up less tired and with increased concentration than before. Stop beating yourself up about it and just accept that your body needs to rest.
I'm not a huge caffeine drinker - I don't like tea or coffee (I know, I'm not a proper British person), but the other day I was so tired on placement that I tried a mocha and it really did help to wake me up. Drinking lots of caffeine can actually make you more tired, but I think a couple of cups throughout the day can help to keep you awake.
Set small goals
I always find that if I set myself a small goal and treat myself at the end of it, it helps to keep me motivated and awake. For example, I will try and revise to the end of page 12 and then let myself have some chocolate. I also find that eating helps to keep me a little more alert - a pack of biscuits in the middle of a 4 hour lecture doesn't do any harm.
Yes, yes, it's such a cliche - but exercise does help to give you more energy (as well as helping you to sleep better at night). A brisk walk in the middle of the day can do wonders to wake you up, or a jog in the morning can help energise you for the day ahead.
I hope these tips are a little helpful for some people - just remember that if all fails, pinching yourself can sometimes do the job. I often come out of lectures with red marks all over my arms.
Today I have just been in university and have relaxed this evening, crying at DIY SOS whilst stuffing my face with fajitas. Oh what a lovely image I must be creating in your mind right now.
A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.
PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!