Ways to Take a Productive Break in the Middle of Finals

So, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m stressed and overwhelmed with all the schoolwork I need to finish in this final season. In fact, I feel as if I’m headed towards burnout (check out this article for more on academic burnout), and that’s something I really want to avoid. 

These ideas will seem very basic – because they are. But the important thing is that I’m reminding you that breaks are essential. Sometimes when finals’ brain kicks in, you can’t remember your top from your bottom, so these are just gentle reminders about things you already know! But give yourself the permission to use them and be kind to yourself and your brain. You can only do so much. 

  1. 1. Go for a walk

    Fresh air, especially in the springtime is a real game-changer (but if you’re like me make sure you’ve had your allergy medicine!) Even if it’s just around the block go stretch your legs and change your surroundings.

  2. 2. Hang out with your pets

    If I need a bit of a break, sometimes I play “find the kitten.” Go see your pets and get some snuggles. If you don’t have a pet, look up some cute animal videos on YouTube; just make sure to set yourself a time limit so you don’t get distracted!

  3. 3. FaceTime a friend

    You may not be able to see your friends in person right now, but a 5-10 minute FaceTime call is a great way to catch up. Commiserate about school or talk about literally anything else, but it’s always great to have a conversation with a real person after working on projects by yourself for so long. 

  4. 4. Rewatch a favourite TV episode

    An old favourite TV episode is one of my go-tos for a break during studying. I don’t want any surprises and this way I know exactly what happens and what to expect. Might I suggest the classic Friends episode, “The One With Princess Consuela”?

  5. 5. Take a shower

    I use showers to reset my brain after a long day of work or studying. If I’m transitioning from one task to another or need fresh eyes to look at something again, a shower is a great way to do that. Usually, I’ll make these showers cooler in temperature, because I’m not looking for anything long and relaxing.

  6. 6. Have a snack or some tea

    This is to combat the fact that maybe you’ve only had iced coffee so far and are getting a little jittery. Go get some food and make a cup of tea. I go with the classic vegetables and dip and my favourite tea is oolong. But there is no right or wrong here, as long as you don’t lean too far into the sugary treats early in the day.

So please take some time for yourself and remember you are more than your education and your output!