5 Study Breaks That Don't Involve Your Phone

It’s officially the most dreaded season of the year: finals season. As I write this, on the third floor of the Marriott Library, mental breakdowns are happening left and right. Eyes are glued to their computer screens, and you can literally feel the stress seeping out of people. Notecards are being scribbled on, textbooks are being furiously rifled through, and headphones are on full blast. I definitely would not be surprised if someone’s head exploded on the spot. I mean, I get it; I’m in the same boat. I got lucky enough to only have one final during finals week this semester, and my only other test was taken last week, so I got that out of the way. But the projects and papers that I have to write seem endless, not to mention the countless paperwork I have to sift through and complete before embarking on my summer study abroad program. Stress. Is. High.

One of the most important things to remember during this time of year is that your brain needs a break. You’ll inevitably hit a point where you simply cannot hold any more information in your head, and you will sit there staring at the 15 pages of material you still have to skim over, and you will probably want to die. This is where study breaks come in. Every hour or so, whether I’m writing an essay or working on a project or studying for a test, I like to take a little break. Sometimes, I can only afford 5 minutes of time. If I’m lucky enough, I can take an hour or so off before returning to work. But since most of our work nowadays is on the computer, it’s nice to have some stuff to do that doesn’t involve a screen. It gives your eyes a chance to rest, and your brain a chance to re-charge. Here are some of my favorite ways to take a study break without using your phone:

1. Go eat something. A lot of the time, when your energy is running low, it’s because you’re hungry. If you have the time, get up, go somewhere else on campus, and grab some food. If you only have five minutes, close your computer for a little bit while you eat a snack. You’ll feel refreshed and energized, and your motivation will (hopefully) be restored.

2. Take a walk. Leave your laptop and your phone with your friends, and get up and move. If you’re in an area with a lot of people, go talk to them! Chat with your friends a little bit, clear your head, and don’t think about what you’ve been focusing on endlessly. Or, if you’re not around people, just walk around the building you’re in, or even outside. Moving your body around will get your thoughts flowing again, and it’ll give you a perfect break from the grind.

3. Exercise. This kind of piggy backs off of the last item, but if you have the luxury of an hour or two, go to the gym, or to yoga, or to a workout class. Being in a setting like this will get your mind completely off of whatever is stressing you out. Don’t worry, the information you’ve studied won’t just leave your brain, but it will take a back burner for a little bit, allowing you to return to your studying with a clean slate.

4. Clean up. Some people, like myself, don’t like studying at home. However, if you don’t mind it, a good thing to do over a study break is to tidy up the area you’re in. Again, shut your computer, put your phone down, and take a few minutes (or a lot of minutes) to put away clutter, clean your dishes, vacuum, or do whatever it you need to feel like a sane person again. It can be difficult to fully focus on being productive if the space you’re in is full of clutter.

5. Take a power nap. Power being the operative word here, because napping for any longer than 20 minutes can leave your groggy and unfocused when you wake up, but as long as you keep it short, it can drastically improve your mental state. Similarly to working out, taking a short nap will allow you to spend some time not being consumed with everything you’re trying to cram into your head.

The only way out is through here, people. Everyone’s going through it, so the best way to get through it is to get through it together. Remember, you need to let yourself take a rest in order to optimize your study time. If you don’t, chances are you’re going to drive yourself insane. Be nice to your body and your mind, and don’t go too hard on yourself!

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