Study breaks are really important, but sometimes it can be difficult to think of what to do, or even know what kind of break to take. So here are some suggestions for breaks depending on how you’re feeling at the time.
Some generic multipurpose breaks:
- Yoga or guided meditation.
- Moisturise your hands, or paint your nails.
- Go to the toilet, and get a drink.
- Go for a walk.
- Play a game online.
- Listen to some music.
- Write down a bit of your daydream.
- Make a meal.
- Play with a pet.
- Read an article/wiki page
For when you’re overwhelmed:
- Have a relaxing shower with a favourite body wash.
- Make sure to step away from your study space, this is important.
- Go for a walk; do a short yoga routine, or a 15 minute guided meditation.
- Talk to a friend or parent, see if they can give you some support.
- Give yourself a treat - like a packet of chocolate buttons, or something small you enjoy. Eat them, and savour them, away from your desk.
For when nothing seems to be coming together:
- Make a to-do list of what needs to be done.
- Look at the task as if you’ve never seen it before.
- Have lunch or a snack, or nice drink. Do it away from your desk.
- Do something you enjoy, like reading a bit of a book, or playing a playlist you like.
- Talk to someone about the problem; ideally a supportive parent, friend, or teacher
For when you are stressed and want to rip your hair out:
- Shower, or have a bath.
- Watch funny videos online, or read those funny reviews, like the Haribo gummy bears ones.
- A short yoga or guided meditation video can really help (and I’m not one of those ‘yay, yoga’ people, but it can really help).
- Do something you are capable of doing without much stress - this could be a chore, a hobby, or something random you like.
- Make yourself a drink you enjoy, make it as special as you can, and then find somewhere else to drink it.
When you are bored:
- Engage in productive procrastination.
- Learn a new skill - such as a basic crochet stitch, or how to start a fire without a lighter.
- Watch a TedTalk, or short documentary on YouTube.
- Make a study playlist, try to include some music you’ve not heard before.
- Find a new recipe to try / place to visit.
- Play a quick game online - bingo, pictionary, etc.
When you are hungry, but the bored kind of hungry:
- Try eating something that takes longer to prepare. Not just a snack that’s quick to grab, but something that takes a little more time. Cut up your fruit, make it look nice; make several snacks that can be stored for latter or another day.
- Take a few minutes to some pictures of your study space or notes, edit them and make them into a post ready to pop on your blog.
- Go for a wander. It needn’t be outside, even walking around the stacks in a library and looking for some interesting titles can give you a break (and an inflated reading list, so do this one at your peril).
- Paint your nails, or do some cuticle maintenance by moisturising them.
- Spend five minutes on Pinterest looking at ideas for crafts or something you enjoy (make sure to set a timer for this, it’s easy to be distracted).
When you haven’t taken a break in a while because breaks are for wussies:
- Read about the Pomodoro method and how it helps boost productivity. Use a free timer app to give it a go.
- Zentangle, relaxation colouring, going to the toilet, etc.
- Just chil-lout. Seriously, do something to relax yourself. You need a break!
When literally anything is more interesting than what you’re supposed to be doing:
- Go for a short walk, or do a few stretches away from your study space.
- Watch a TedTalk on something interesting or a totally random subject.
- Find an article/wiki page on something you know nothing about. Remember to limit yourself, time-wise, on this sort of thing.
- Organise your bag/folder/pencil case (anything small you have on you).
- Listen to some music in a target language/language you would like to learn.
When something keeps distracting you:
- If it’s something you can get rid of, try to do that.
- If it’s something you need to do, if possible, then to do it.
- If it’s a thought that won’t go away, take five minutes and write it down in as much detail as you can, and then put it away for later.
- Leave your study space for a moment, get up and walk around a bit, maybe stretch your neck, back and arms.
- Tell your pet what’s wrong. Bonus if you do this in another language.
For when you feel like giving up:
- This is a good time to step away from your work and doing something else entirely for a little while. Take a longer break, watch an episode of a show you like, or browse for some new music, read a bit of a book.
- Take a shower.
- Make yourself a drink and something to eat, and eat it away from your desk. Relax a bit while you’re doing so, and set up a pomodoro-style timer when you get back to studying, so you can remember you’ll soon have another break.
- Engage in a small act of kindness.
- Pet a cute fluffy friend.
When you feel entirely unproductive:
- Perform some productive procrastination! Vacuum the house; wipe down a window, scrub the kitchen tiles, reorganise your underwear drawer. Pick a chore that needs doing and do that. Honestly, even just tidying a bookshelf, or taking your washing out of your room, or packing away some clothes can help. Do something where you will be able to see a visible difference that your actions have made.
- Spend half an hour on a hobby you like - knit, make origami swans, fiddle around with a robotics project.
- That thing you’ve been putting off? Go on, go and do it, and tick it off your check-list.
I hope that these give you a few ideas for much-needed, and productivity-boosting breaks.