Tossing the coffee cups

Advice on how to stay energized without caffeine


Syllabus week is just about over, which means the lines at Tim Hortons and Starbucks will only get longer. I am not one of those people you’ll see in line.

When I had my first cup of coffee, I poured in so much milk and sugar that it turned a creamy white. I was confused as to how my grandmother drank it black every morning. It was then I realized I would never be a coffee person.

I’ve recently picked up some habits to keep me awake throughout the day and I figure there are other students out there who are sporting not-so-Prada bags under their eyes.

Let’s face it, how many of us can afford to squeeze in more than six hours of sleep every night?

For those who wake up dreading the thought of leaving bed, here are nine things that give me my Zen.

Eat any kind of fruit in the morning. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating half a banana or an apple even if I’m not hungry. Usually my stomach doesn’t agree with food in the morning, but forcing yourself to get natural sugars in your body is a huge energy boost. You might as well get that daily serving of fruit when you wake up.

Dress to impress – sort of. If you’re like me, you know there isn’t a single soul on campus worth trying to impress. Reaching for joggers or a pair of leggings is so much more satisfying than anything denim. You also tell yourself no makeup and a messy bun will do. Sometimes, you have to find that golden mean. Pull back those stray hairs and find a nice sweater. I’ve learned over the years that putting on mascara will keep you from rubbing your eyes and looking like a panda. When you look good, you feel good.

Get the right playlist. There’s no reason why you should be listening to Sam Smith if you can barely keep your eyes open. If your headphones have some bass, it can send those vibrations through your body and keep you moving.

Keep snacks in your bag. Not Doritos or cookies, but try nuts, oranges or yogurt. They’re definitely more expensive, which is why you should consider buying them in bulk at a grocery store rather than at any of the UB campus dining and shops.

Chew gum or pop in some mints. Researchers have found many reasons why minty flavors keep yourself focused and awake. This is probably one of the easiest, cheapest and most reliable methods. Not to mention you won’t have to worry about having coffee breath.

Stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and force you to drink it. I’ve noticed that the more I carry one, the more I sip from it just out of boredom. Vending machines are a convenient place to pick up a water bottle, and you’ll never have to worry about a line at a water fountain.

Avoid energy drinks at all costs. Yes, it will give you a huge boost for a few hours. It will also result in a crash that will leave you more exhausted than before. Anything called “Monster” shouldn’t be entering your body.

If you have time to get to the gym, take advantage of it. While many people think working out makes you more tired, it gives you that extra stamina to get through the day. But not everyone has the time or enthusiasm to get to the gym. In that case, little things such as taking the stairs instead of elevators are a start.

Keep your personal space organized. Whether you’re working in the library or at your desk at home, a clean area will keep you focused. Nothing is more distracting than having your papers scattered. When everything is in place, there’s no need to panic.

These may seem like minor changes but the outcomes are pretty substantial. Maybe in 10 years I’ll order more than a bagel at Starbucks. Until then, I’ll stick to my gum and music.