What to Do During Study Breaks
You can study all day, but you won’t get far without a healthy study break. Learn what to do during study breaks and how to achieve the most effective study breaks.
College coursework, exams, and lectures take up a lot of our time. Then there’s reviewing and studying to prove you actually did all the work! The truth is, we’re human - not machines. So even though you can try as hard as you can to study for 12 hours straight, all you’ll achieve is a solid burnout.
A hardcore study session isn’t useful unless you take some good study breaks. And that goes for both students in college or university. After a few hours, words start to melt together and stop making sense.
Even if only for a few minutes, effective study breaks help you feel refreshed, better retain content, avoid burnout, and protect your health. Wondering what to do during study breaks? How long are the best study breaks? Learn that and everything else you need to know about taking breaks while studying.
How Long Should Your Study Break Be?
The answer depends on how long your study session lasts...and on who you ask. If you’re only studying for half an hour, go ahead and power on through. You won’t need a study break.
A popular time management technique, the Pomodoro technique recommends a short, 5-minute break every 25 minutes, and then a 15-30 minute break every 90 minutes. Another study break dogma is a 17-minute break every 52 minutes.
Let’s meet in the middle with a 15-minute break every hour.
What to Do During Study Breaks
Wondering how to spend that golden 15 minutes? Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Go for a Walk
Did you know that sitting is the new smoking? Sitting down for too long poses many health issues, like back pain, sore and weakened muscles, tight hips, and poor posture. Experts recommend you add some physical activity to your day, and your study break is a great time to do so. Go for a walk, stretch your muscles, and check out a new piece of scenery for 15 minutes. Bonus if there’s some greenery nearby- nature is known to help us feel relaxed and refreshed.
Being a student is stressful, especially during finals. It can be hard to find a calm, aware mental state. Meditation helps you achieve this, and you don’t need more than 15 minutes to meditate! Walk to a different room, find a comfortable seat, and practice some breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques to decompress. Try your best to avoid thinking about studying - this is your time!
3. Have a Drink or Snack
The best study breaks involve coffee, and that’s OK! Take the time to grab a refreshment of your choice. Try to include water though, as hydration is key to keep us feeling focused and energized. If you’re hungry, this is also a great time to get a snack. Try to keep it healthy though, as high-sugar foods can make you more tired and crash halfway through your study session! Stick with high-protein goodies like almonds or refreshing fruit.
4. Clean Up a Bit
Remember what we said about how bad it is to sit for too long? If you don’t feel like going for a walk, cleaning is a great way to get your body moving for a short period. Declutter and tidy up a bit during your study break. You’ll feel better returning to your work in a clean space.
5. Take a Micro Nap
Sometimes sleep is someone’s meditation. If you want to rest your eyes for a bit and get cozy, you can do that on your study break. Remember to set an alarm though! The last thing you need is to wake up 5 hours later and ruin your entire study session.
6. Call a Loved One
Your ideal study break is completely removed from your studies. What better way to take a break than to listen to someone else talk? Call up a friend or family member to ask how their day is going. Invest in that conversation and enjoy catching up with your loved one.
7. Have a Laugh
During stressful times like finals, we could all use a laugh. Release some serotonin and dopamine by watching a bit of your favorite comedian, or playing with your pet.
8. Create a Playlist
Did you know that music increases focus while studying? Try to avoid heavy lyrical and distracting tunes, and opt for the ambient calming sounds to help you get in the zone. You can use your study break to find a playlist you like or create your own.
9. Take a Shower
Are your eyes glazing over as you read your study material? You might need a shower, even a cold shower, to wake you up. A 15-minute study break is the perfect time to have a shower. You’ll feel awake, refreshed, and more comfortable now that you’re nice and clean!
What Not to Do During Study Breaks
Now that we’ve covered a few study break ideas, we should cover some bad ideas as well.
1. Check Social Media
Nothing is more distracting than social media. A quick peek at Instagram can turn your 15-minute study break into a 2-hour long scroll sesh.
2. Eat Junk Food
You might be tempted to crack out the candy and chips. But snacking on junk will only deplete your energy levels, causing you to crash mid-session.
3. Study for Something Else
The whole point of a study break is to take a break from your schoolwork. Don’t use it to study for something else to be ultra-productive. Your body and mind need this precious time to revisit your studies feeling more refreshed!
Now that you know the importance of taking a break from studying, go ahead and tackle that study session! Use your study break time to be kind to yourself with any of the above activities.
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