When projects, exams, and other deadlines begin to pile up, it can be tempting to cut out study breaks. In theory, this makes sense — less time spent taking breaks means you have more time left to study or work on your assignments — but did you know that taking 15 minute breaks every hour or two can actually increase your productivity and focus, all while helping you to retain critical information?
That being said, not all study breaks are created equal. It’s easy to scroll through social media for 15 minutes, but to get the most out of your break, try and pick an activity that will help you recharge and feel energized and ready to begin studying again. Read on to learn our office’s best tips for short, productive study breaks!
- Tidy your workspace- This is my favorite tip, and one I use every day. It’s so much easier to concentrate on your work when there’s nothing around to distract you, and staying organized means you’re less likely to lose important papers or assignments. It may seem like a tiny change, but it makes a world of difference!
- Make a healthy snack- When school feels overwhelming, it’s easy to eat an unbalanced diet or even skip snacks or meals, but it’s incredibly important to give your body the nutrition that it needs to keep your mind and body running at its very best. One of my favorite healthy snacks is apple slices with peanut butter “frosting,” which is really just 1 part peanut butter mixed with 1 part plain yogurt. For more healthy snack ideas, click here.
- Read a chapter of a book- Reading is a great way to relax between study sessions, especially ifyou aren’t feeling up to getting up or moving around. It’s also just a great way to give your mind a break. Not sure what to read? Check out this article for a list of thought-provoking novels and memoirs picked specifically for college students.
- Talk to a friend or family member- After studying for a long time, taking a break from your laptop or textbooks and talking to another person can feel like the best thing in the world. If you’re not around anyone you want to talk to, consider calling or FaceTiming a friend or family member to catch up with them.
- Take a walk- A short walk is a great way to work a little bit of exercise into your schedule, and fresh air is an awesome way to help your mind recharge after a study session.Northern Virginia has a huge number of nature trails — click to learn about nearby trails in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Alexandria, and Arlington.
- Quick workout- If the weather won’t allow you to get outside but you still want to get some physical activity in, you can try to get a short workout in at home. If you’re not sure where to start, there’s plenty of YouTube channels dedicated entirely to creating workout videos that don’t require any special equipment, and many of these videos are the perfect length for a short study break. Mason students and faculty also have free access to Burnalong, a home workout and wellness app, which has a huge variety of exercise videos available for all fitness levels. To learn how to access your account, click here.
If you try out any of these study break ideas, be sure to share it with us on social media! Also, regardless of how you choose to spend your study breaks, remember to drink enough water and otherwise practice self-care– school is important, but it’s equally important to make sure you remain healthy and happy.