It’s “slump season.” This is the time of year when the energy and motivation college students have plummets to an all-time low. Around this time of year, it’s not uncommon for students to exhibit zombie-like characteristics. This may include disheveled clothing, blank stares and occasional groans of exasperation.

But don’t fret, the college “brain drain” or burn out is a normal part of slump season. Let’s face it — juggling work, school and social activities can be a draining act.

Here are a few tips that can help you recharge during the quarter:

Fuel Up

The food we eat provides our bodies with the energy it needs to function properly. In fact, 

one study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in The United States of America found the brain used 20 percent of the bodies calories. Therefore, it’s imperative we are giving our bodies the right kind of fuel. The next time you are craving a sweet snack from the West Coast Grocery, try dark chocolate. A 2013 study found that dark chocolate contains stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine which enhance one’s mood and mental energy.  Other studies have suggested that foods rich in Omega-3 such as salmon can also boost your brain’s cognitive abilities. Allergic to seafood? Many nuts and seeds like flax seeds are also rich in Omega -3s. These can often be found at your local grocery store. 

Smell the flowers

Did you know that spending time in nature can improve your mood and reduce stress? A 2019, study published in Science Daily found just 20 minutes in nature can lower stress hormone levels. Recharge yourself by spending time in the great outdoors. Try volunteering at the UW Tacoma Giving Garden, taking a stroll or bike ride at a park or eating lunch outside. Perhaps consider buying a plant to keep around your home or apartment. No green thumb? No worries, consider a succulent — they require less frequent watering.

Have a mini-retreat

A few quarters ago, my mom and I decided to pack our bags and spend the weekend away on a writers retreat. Those few days were the highlight of my quarter because I was able to take a step back from my busy life. During our retreat, I was able to create new works and work on myself. When I came back to school the following Monday, I was refreshed and ready to take on whatever my professor could throw my way. Whether it be the weekend, a day or an hour. Consider having a mini-retreat. Do something that relaxes you, inspires you or gives you an opportunity to create. Maybe you’ll use Airbnb and spend the weekend away or visit Wright Park and write for an hour. The retreat should be a low-stress, healthy and safe way to escape — for just a moment.

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