Take a break: 4 short restivities for a long day of study

Photo of a journal
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How does your schedule look this finals season? Around this time of the year, I’m usually racing against deadlines and looking forward to the peace of winter break. As you push through this semester, take a break! Even just 10 minutes every hour can be helpful in maintaining momentum and reducing some stress you may be feeling. Taking breaks can also clear your mind and help you perform better. However, taking breaks shouldn’t just be about maximizing your productivity. Make time for yourself this finals season by scheduling short breaks throughout your study sessions.

Short meditation 

There are lots of resources online for folks at any stage of meditation. When I first started meditating, I thought there was a specific way that I had to do it. The truth is, meditation practice looks different for everyone. If you’re looking for a guided start, try this gratitude meditation or this mindfulness meditation. Typically, I’ll take 5-10 minutes to do a gratitude meditation before bed or when I’m getting ready for the day. Meditations such as these help me take a break from all of my responsibilities and thank the universe for the people I love and the experiences I have been granted.

Stretch or circuit workout 

Physical movement might be something that you find helpful in maintaining your peace during a long study session. Keep it simple with mindfulness stretching or try out a circuit workout. There are lots of online resources, including some helpful videos by the Recreational Sports Facility. To enhance your productivity during study sessions, try setting a time that you plan to move. I like to reserve the middle of my study session for moving, listening to a few songs and looking away from my screen. 

Write or draw in a journal 

Maintaining a journal practice during study breaks is a great way to let your brain rest and keep track of all the things that bring you joy. Check out our guide to journaling if you have a hard time channeling creative energy. Or, use try this gratitude journal practice. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be a formal practice in an organized journal that must look nice or make sense. I’ve found that just jotting down a few thoughts can be an exciting experience of reflection and growth.

Make a short playlist for breaks 

Fill your playlist with just enough songs for a 10-15 minute break. Use the time to sit back and enjoy some time away from studying, or throw a one-person impromptu dance party. You can use the first break to make the playlist, then on your next break, test it out and make swaps for songs that might fit better. When you have more free time, make a series of break playlists depending on how you want to feel. Connecting music with my study time is something that continues to motivate me to get my work done and feel good about it. If you need inspiration, check our most recent playlist for a feast.

While breaks are nice, don’t fall into the trap of resting for too long. Relaxation and self-care are imperative to your success, but too much of it might make it harder for you to keep up with your responsibilities. Spreading out my breaks and chipping away at my to-do list is my strategy for finishing this semester strong. So set yourself up for success this finals season by scheduling consistent, short breaks to rejuvenate yourself and keep your mind fresh!

Contact Sera Smith at [email protected].