Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

How I Take “Productive” Breaks When Stressed

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

As a university student, all I do is think and work on repeat. Sometimes it’s daunting to just think about everything I need to do. Doing readings, going to classes, fulfilling club priorities, cooking, spending time with friends…it becomes a lot. Sometimes all this build-up can just cause me to blank and not do anything productive. I’ve come to realize that when I find myself in this situation, I need to take a break.

But, I sometimes feel guilty when I take breaks. For instance, activities like watching tv are very relaxing, but sometimes it feels like I’m just wasting time. So, I’ve come up with five ways to take “productive” breaks from my school responsibilities.

Go to a club event

There are so many clubs on campus that there is bound to be an event happening when I’m looking for one. It’s a great way to stop thinking about the stresses of life and meet awesome people. I sometimes find it daunting to go to events by myself, so I’ll often invite a friend!

all american homecoming by Original photo by DaZhane Johnson?width=1024&height=1024&fit=cover&auto=webp
Original photo by Da’Zhane Johnson

Read a book

I know there is so much school reading already, but it’s not always enjoyable. Reading is good for the brain, and any type of reading will be good regardless of if it’s educational. When I can’t sleep, I pick up a book that actually intrigues me.


This might be obvious, but sometimes re-organizing some drawers can make me feel more in control of my life. I feel better after cleaning, it doesn’t require too much brain power, and it’s a perfect activity.

Learn a new recipe

It can be exhausting to cook after a long day of classes. I’m always tempted to make instant ramen, but trying out a new recipe is very rewarding. There are many websites that host various recipes, but I love looking at recipes on Instagram Reels, or on TikTok. The videos are short, and usually, the creators put the recipe in the caption or on their own website. Actually seeing the process of them making the food makes it look more realistic, and therefore makes it more likely that I’ll try it.

Go for a walk

This may be obvious, but just getting fresh air is very valuable. It also gives me time to think (or not). I usually put my headphones in and enjoy the scenery. A bonus is that the weather in Ottawa is still enjoyable since it’s not too cold yet.

Overthinking is not always bad, but it does become draining. Getting my mind off of stressful things every once in a while is an absolute necessity. Balance is needed when my schedule is this hectic. I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to be hustling all the time, and that finding what helps me decompress is essential for a balanced life.

Hi there! My name is Natasha and I am a second-year English student!