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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

What’s the word for doing something completely unrelated to a task that you have to get done for an upcoming deadline? Some may answer: “procrastination” or “distraction.” My friends and I like to call it a “brain break.” 

Roger Anunsen and Michael Patterson came up with the term brain breaks when they were teachers, noticing that their students’ attentiveness level had declined after some instruction. It is a commonly used term by early education and elementary school instructors to indicate a small amount of time between classroom activities for students to recharge.

Brain breaks are known to increase productivity, self-awareness and creativity. There has been a lot of research done to encourage the use of brain breaks in elementary school classrooms—so you may be wondering what I’m doing writing about this for a collegiate magazine. Well, just like we should all be taking naps like we did in kindergarten, I’m here to make the case for brain breaks for college students.

The beauty of a brain break is that they’re intentional and never make you feel bad for letting yourself rest for a bit. You have the power to make the decision to take a break, do something else, then come back at any point. Every time I take a brain break, I realize the stark difference in how I was feeling before and how I feel after. Generally, before a brain break, I’m stressed, frustrated with myself, exhausted and overall feel like my mind is a bit dull. Afterwards, I constantly feel relieved and re-energized, excited to do my work,like someone pressed the reset button on my productivity levels.

There aren’t many rules for brain breaks. They can happen in the middle of studying for a midterm, or after finishing two really tough math problems. In my experience, the activity during this break has ranged from working on the scarf I’m knitting to taking a walk from my dorm to the koi pond. I find that going outside can help tremendously when I’m going through a writer’s block for a really long essay. There’s something magical about putting aside a major stressor and picking up a calming activity. Physical activity is highly recommended as a way to stimulate your brain and regain energy during a draining assignment. Don’t feel the need to limit yourself to going for a walk; you’re also welcome to use your brain break to catch up on your favorite show, FaceTime a friend or grab a filling snack. 

Humans are built for balance. Don’t give in to the pressure of the “grind” culture that is heavily encouraged by so many people today; it’ll only leave you burnt out. Trust me, I’ve been there. 

So, feel free to put down whatever study guide you have out for that upcoming Chemistry test or that eight-page essay for your English class and stand up, find an activity that you enjoy and work on that until you feel prepared to sit back down and be studious.

Itzelle is a second year at Saint Louis University pursuing her degree in political science. As a first generation college student from a Southwest side Chicago latino neighborhood, she has been dedicated to making sure her voice is heard since she was young. Her works mainly focus on her identity and experience but she also strongly enjoys discussing music, the environment, and her other creative outlets.
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