It starts with tagging a friend or two in a meme, replying to a few texts, and before you know it, your “5-minute study break” somehow turns into half an hour (or more!).
These minutes add up to hours which many of us can’t seem to account for at the end of the day. Later in the week, when you are racing to complete an assignment on Sunday night, all of a sudden, study breaks don’t even cross your mind. You are in “all-nighter mode” with no time to rest, even for 5 minutes. Does this sound a little (or very) familiar to you?
We’ve all been told of the importance of taking study breaks. But, we don’t often hear which kinds of study breaks we should take.
It’s easy to feel like social media is helping you take a break from your books. Maybe it’s not a preference, but more of a habit.
Unfortunately, most of us may not realize that taking study breaks on social media often makes us less productive and more stressed. Thoughts about your recent social activities can linger in your mind even after you’ve gotten back to your books. Or, you subconsciously begin to compare yourself to so-and-so who has just told you how well their assignments are going.
More commonly, someone comments about how stressed they are and you comment back how stressed you are, and it all exacerbates your stress! The result is less focus, less productivity, and more stress.
The good news is that taking active, social (IRL), and meditative breaks can boost your focus and productivity, and reduce stress.
Physical activity is a great start.
Usually, when I’m stressed, I take a short walk to get some fresh air. And, this Tuesday, November 28th, I’ll definitely be dropping in to the yoga station at Lounging in the Library, one of the events for Stress Less for Exam Success week.
Quick, active study breaks are a great way to feel refreshed before you start your next session. Plus, 30 minutes of physical activity at least 4 times a week can really reduce your stress. So, maybe try trading those 30 minutes of Facebook scrolling for a few minutes of movement.
Meditation can also help combat stress, depression, insomnia, tiredness, and high blood pressure.
During Stress Less for Exam Success, you can colour, make crafts, and try some knitting. They’re all simple ways to meditate right in your study space (if you like studying in the library).
Pro tip: I found out that meditating right before bed time can actually disrupt your sleep because it rejuvenates you instead of calming you down. Better times to meditate are first thing in the morning, during a mid-day break, in the evening following a long day of school, or whenever you feel stress manifesting itself within you.
Finally, my personal favourite: power naps.
10- to 20-minute power naps can be a great rejuvenating study break option, not to mention convenient. If you’re missing a lot of sleep this study season, read up on a few more sleep hacks here.
Taking a study break is definitely important. But, it’s also important to be aware of the types of study breaks you’re taking.
For some great ideas on how to study more effectively and take more rejuvenating breaks, check out Stress Less for Exam Success. With final exams drawing closer and end-of-term deadlines also approaching, knowing how to be more productive is a great skill. Start now, stress less!