5 Ways to be Recharged during Grad-School

By Christopher Valencia |

For the past few weeks, most of us graduate students at UC Riverside have probably been on the grind. Day in and day out, we have been in the books. And, as we go on, perhaps we have discovered that our mental stamina has taken a toll.


[Image Description: Cartoon of a brain being fried on a pan.]

Caption: This is all of us. 

In graduate school, this is a typical experience for most. Though we are all training our minds and expanding our mental capacities, we still need to take a break occasionally. As graduate students, we should push ourselves; there are some days when we must break new ground. However, we will sometimes need to recharge our mental and physical beings. 

That being said, I recommend some ways to recharge amidst all your busyness. These are simple ways to recharge from your workload. Some of these suggestions are from my experience, while others are common go-to’s for most folks.


[Image Description: Goku going Super Saiyan mode.]

Caption: This is what we need.

Move Your Body: Walk, Exercise, & Stretch :)


[Image Description: Cartoon person waving their arms side to side.]

Caption: We like to move it move it.

Many health-related books can tell you about all the benefits of walking and taking time out to walk in your daily routine. I will not give you all the scientific background, but many resources exist. If you're interested, 52 Ways to Walk by Annabel Streets is a good read. 

Going on a 20- to 30-minute walk can help you to move your body around. During the quarter, we are often sitting down for long periods at a time. It is an excellent practice to get up, move around, and stretch now and then. 

Also, if you go for a walk, try and explore some routes with some lovely scenery. Sometimes, we are trapped in an office or room all day and forget about the beauty right outside our door. It’s good to go outside occasionally to expose our eyes to the daylight and all the bright colors of nature. Enjoy the fresh air, and allow your head to clear.  

Day Break… we all need a day to reset and unwind

Using mental energy can be draining. It’s like going to the gym. After lifting all those weights and using all that physical energy, your body feels it the next day. In the same way, whenever you use a significant amount of mental energy, you will also feel it. And, during some weeks of the quarter, you will be required to use more energy. On top of all your readings, you may have to give a presentation in a class or submit an assignment mid-way through the quarter.

As the work stacks up, you will feel more drained afterward. At these points, getting some rest and allowing your mind to recuperate is essential. A practice I have is after my busiest day (i.e., a Wednesday), I treat the next day like a Saturday. Use your rest day to recharge. Either take some time off or take care of some more straightforward assignments. Most importantly, make sure you feel refreshed going into your next week.


[Image Description: A battery recharging to full.]

Caption: Take the initiative to make sure your battery is recharged!


Another way to recharge and temporarily take your mind off all your work is to find a creative or ordinary hobby. If you’re more creative, use your downtime to release some of that creativity: paint, doodle, write, make music, etc. Whatever you need to do to distract yourself healthily. Hobbies can also serve as small accomplishments.  

If you do this regularly, you will be surprised. By the end of the year, you will have many small creative projects you worked on during your free time. Of course, the hobby you choose can be simply unique to you. You may like to collect certain items or listen to new music. Whatever floats your boat and allows you to sail on!

Spend some time with friends!

Some of us are introverts, and some of us are extroverts. Or maybe you’re in the middle somewhere. Whatever the case, when you take a day off from the library and books, try and spend some time with some of your pals. 

Whether going out to have a meal together or taking a hike on one of the nearby trails around UC Riverside, spending time with your friends and having a few good laughs will allow you to lighten your load. Sometimes, my pals and I have a bonfire, roast some marshmallows, and talk about the mysteries of life. Though I smell like smoke by the end of the night, I sleep well. 

Eat and Rest 

Lastly, and probably most importantly, ensure you are eating properly and getting adequate rest. I know a lot of graduate students run on coffee but do not make coffee your sole diet. Try to eat something substantial and nutritious regularly. I try to eat two to three meals a day. All this to say, eat well, and your body and mind will respond when you need to work. We all need fuel for our tanks. 

Also, make sure to get some shut-eye. Most folks need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep for the next day. Sometimes, your schedule can get hectic when assignments are approaching and deadlines are due. Rest and recharge physically, and your work output will benefit from it.


[Image Description: Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show drinking coffee and hopping on a lawn mower.]

Caption: Coffee can be PART of your diet.

Of course, coffee is great and helps us along the way. But it is not the only way. These other suggestions are reminders to take some time out to recharge amidst your busyness. You will be thankful for it in the long run.