Everyone tells you about the importance of studying, but have you heard about the importance of giving yourself a break? Taking effective breaks from studying is an art form that is very difficult to master. Lucky for you, I can help you skip some steps on the way to mastery with a few suggestions:
1. Comfort foods are your friend: This is (unfortunately) my favorite way of getting through a study session. Eating certain snacks that make you happy can help you relieve some stress by breaking up your routine and doing something you enjoy. But be careful! You don’t want to be sitting at your desk with a bowl of candy bars and cake
It’s all about moderation. Think of your comfort food of choice as a reward for studying so hard. Maybe you review a few chapters for a one exam, take a candy bar break, and then come back to review something else.
2. Run!: If I was as easily motivated to run as I am to eat candy bars and cake I would make this number one. Getting some physical activity in during a study break will help make you feel better by releasing those feel-good chemicals in your body (endorphins to all those health/science majors) and get your heart pumping some more O2 to your brain (that’s oxygen for all you other people). However, there are certain times you should set aside for a full gym workout. A quick run around campus (or a few blocks in your off-campus neighborhood) will be sufficient for the purpose of taking a study break.
The last guy that didn’t take my advice.
3. Watch some dumb TV: Don’t bother looking again; there was nothing intelligent about that last statement. Sometimes your brain just needs a break from trying to be so smart. Sometimes I like to let B. Wayne (my brain’s name) indulge in some old-fashioned mindless television.
Just not this.
I would warn against any program that is longer than 30 minutes. If you have an account with Hulu or Netflix you can always just pick a show and watch an episode. Don’t get carried away! The rule for TV study break is “one and done.” Shut off your TV or close that internet browser after that half hour is up.
These are just a few ways I break up my study sessions. Maybe you have some that work for you and that’s great. There is no one way to take an effective study break and I encourage you to do whatever works for you. Just remember one thing: no matter what you do during a break, don’t do it for too long!
Written by Andrew Chinofsky, Peer Educator