Body to Tired for Brain to Work
November 11, 2011 11:40 AM   Subscribe

I started a very tiring full-time job for the Christmas season 2 weeks ago, and need hacks to help me concentrate on the college courses I'm taking during nights and weekends.

I'm on my feet all day and get up at 6am (not a morning person), so I have been exhausted during the week. I have today off and last night I crawled into bed at 9 and slept a whole 13 hours to recover from the week's work!

I was hoping to spend last night working on assignments that were late because I couldn't get them done for a Wednesday night class, but my brain and body were too tired to perform.

It's post-midterms so anyone familiar with that knows that it's pretty much non-stop assignments until the term ends. I'm worried that I'm going to tank my classes if this exhaustion doesn't abate. I don't want to quit because i need the money to pay next term's tuition, and I haven't had luck finding a more sedentary job.

Can you guys give me any hacks to help me restore my fatigued body and mind as effectively as possible so I can focus better on school? Some ideas I have so far is to get more comfortable shoes, drink less coffee and more herbal tea at work, and to take baths to soothe my muscles when i get home.
posted by oceanview to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cut out the non-essential parts of your life. Consider this a sprint effort, one that has a definite end date, and focus only on school and work. Your social life may take a hit but it's going to be worth it.
posted by hepta at 11:51 AM on November 11, 2011

I've found that avoiding coffee after noon makes my time at rest much more restful, and if I need a little caffeine to get through the middle of the afternoon, having green tea helps. Also, breakfast. Breakfast is extra important if you're super busy and spending a lot of time awake.

I would also definitely recommend getting good shoes if you're on your feet. Everyone's feet are different, but a pair that support you in the right places and are relatively light will make a huge difference. In terms of muscle pain, epsom salt in your bath can help a lot. You can pick up a bag at almost any drug store, at least in North America.

And as for assignments, make a centralized list of all the assignments you have due, including how many pages they should be, how many sources you should find, their due dates, and their weight in the course. That way you can look at it and prioritize and get a sense of what's most important, and having a centralized list can help you focus your energy. Another thing I've done, as a student, is occasionally get up earlier to work on assignments,rather than into the night. I know you already get up at six, but sometimes putting your schoolwork literally before work can leave you feeling less stressed. And less guilty about privileging one obligation over another.

Also, hang in there! The semester's, and the Christmas rush, will both be over before you know it.
posted by emilycardigan at 11:56 AM on November 11, 2011

I find that setting aside 30 minutes after I get home from work to do something restful but indulgent works. It calms me down and allows me to push through. I also work very intensely to just get through it as fast as I can, don't rush though if your work suffers.
posted by boobjob at 12:20 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

It might help to know the job you do where you wake up at 6am and are on your feet all day. For instance, I'm sure there are hacks for inventory control versus hacks for being a waiter versus hacks for being a UPS packer. Can you add?
posted by juniperesque at 1:02 PM on November 11, 2011

juniperesque: I'm doing some inventory control and am also running around all day finding products in the company's warehouse to pack and ship for orders made online.
posted by oceanview at 1:36 PM on November 11, 2011

Eat three square nutritious meals a day (which means balancing your protein, carbs, and fats). Your body runs so much better when it's adequately fueled.
posted by litnerd at 3:20 PM on November 11, 2011

Taking magnesium supplements has really helped me to improve the quality of my sleep, so that I feel more energetic on the same amount of sleep.
posted by Acheman at 7:07 AM on November 13, 2011

Way late to the party, but here are few things I've found helpful for doing intellectual work while tired:

- The biggest one: when you're tired, do jumping jacks, push-ups, or another easy exercise. For a study session after a full work day, I might do this every 10 minutes. It really helps wake me up and bring back my ability to focus, if only for short bursts. Specific execises will vary based on which parts of your body hurt from working. Stretching may be an option - I find that simple hamstring stretches and arm circles can work wonders.

- Don't think about "doing an assignment," break it down further to make the prospect seem less intimidating. You're already tired, no need to add to it. Focus on "reading this chapter" and "writing down 5 main points," etc.

- Use a kitchen/computer timer and work in short bursts. Depending on your level of tiredness, 5-10 minutes may be reasonable sessions. So you can sit down and say to yourself "I'm dead tired, but I only have to work on this for 5 minutes..."

- Give yourself a tiny reward after each 'session.' Get up and get a glass of water. Do exercises as previously mentioned. Chocolate, a sandwich, whatever you need.

- Bright lights help me with studying at night, especially when I'm tired.

- That said, I avoid extraneous Internet browsing since being on the computer tires me out further.
posted by brackish.line at 7:32 PM on January 1, 2012

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