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Taking Study Breaks

Midterms are just around the corner, but I am finding myself in a rather lax state. A couple years ago, I might have poured tirelessly over U.S. History notes extensively. What’s worse is I never would have bothered to carve out some good ol’ “me” time in between studying, and after a couple of hours with no breaks I would only stare blankly at textbook contents that became more alien as I tried to absorb the material.

These days, my priorities have changed. Maybe it’s the sheer monotony of studying that has eaten away at my attention span, but I cannot study for longer than an hour, max.  To break up my studying, I typically get some coffee or read a couple of articles on, or maybe get a little lost on the “weird” part of Youtube.

Unfortunately, one Youtube video of a talking cat eventually leads to even more videos of talking cats, which in turn lead to something so disturbing you wish you could go back and un-watch it. When it comes to Youtube study breaks, there certainly comes a time where they are more harmful than beneficial. So, for the sake of healthy study habits, I have looked into some other break options to keep students on track, and, I hope, a little less overwhelming.

1. Make a snack. Yes, this one is pretty obvious, but don’t just grab a bag of Doritos. Put a little more effort into your snack-making. Look up a quick recipe and try it out, or bake some cookies. This way, not only are you getting fueled up for the next study round, but you’ll also give your mind the chance to relax and learn something new.

2. Make a study playlist. Compile a list of some chill yet motivational music. Might I suggest Jay-Z’s entire discography?

3. Go for a quick run. Or hit the gym. Either way, studies show that exercise actually improves memory and overall brain activity.

4. Do some online shopping. Hey, the holidays are coming up! Twenty or so minutes spent shopping early for holiday gifts is time well-spent, right? Ah, just kidding. Go buy yourself something special.

5.  Make an origami animal—not anything too complicated now. Know your limits; don’t flip any tables. This is not a time for over-exertion but rather for relaxation and self-reflection. And later, if you feel discouraged with your studies, just take a look at your own little masterpiece, and you will surely feel invincible.

6. Think about what you’ll do when you’re study-free.  It doesn’t feel like it now, but in a little bit the storm blow over, and you will have your life back again. It’s reassuring to know there exists a light at the end of the dark, gloomy tunnel. Having an idea for what you’ll do come winter break will motivate you to persevere through the brunt of your studies and conveniently give you something around which to structure your (I’m assuming) otherwise less- structured break days.

Sure, studying can get tough, but there is no need for overexertion. When you feel you just can’t go on, it’s probably best that you don’t. Happy studying, folks.

Written by Mackenzie Bell’13


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