So, the end of the academic year is upon me, and along with it my feeling of burnout in which I can hardly muster the energy to complete relatively simple and pressing tasks. I believe that part of this is due to the encroaching summer heat and my mental exhaustion after a long year, but I believe that part of it is also due to physical tiredness on account of less-than-optimal lifestyle choices. So I turn to the dopers for advice on how to maximize energy in everyday life. I’m not looking for quick-fix temporary solutions; I’m willing to work at this (well, once I get up the energy). I think I’ve identified the important areas as outlined below, but need advice on how best to deal with each one. I’m sure plenty of you out there have learned what works for you, and so any words of wisdom on any or all of these areas would be greatly appreciated.
Caffeine: My habit is such that I need at least one cup of coffee in the morning to function. This cup is something I look forward to and even savor (time permitting) every morning, and it affords me not only physical stamina and mental attentiveness but also some degree of motivation, optimism, and joie de vivre. And yet I wonder, if I were to quit this habit and survive the inevitable withdrawal phase, would the advantages of a more natural and evenly distributed energy level throughout the day outweigh the loss of this daily delight? Can anyone speak from personal experience on this?
Exercise: Other than doing a fair amount of brisk walking to get from one place to another throughout the day, I don’t get much exercise, and I only very rarely break a sweat. What would be optimal? Something like a 20-minute jog every day? Or is three times a week sufficient? And is this best in the morning or before dinner or later after dinner or what?
Nutrition: Other than aiming for a “balanced diet”, are there certain foods to avoid or to seek for maximizing energy at certain times of the day? What has worked for you?
Sleep: This one seems pretty straightforward. Ideally I would sleep at least eight hours per night, and always get up and go to bed at the same time of day. But that’s so boring. And often impractical. Oh well.
Natural slumps: I suppose that even if I improved in all the above areas, there would still be times of the day where I feel sluggish, but at least I’d know that I’m doing everything I can and it’s not just me being lazy or bringing this on myself. What’s the best way to deal with those inevitable periods of sluggishness?
Other: Any other tips?