Time and again experts have emphasised the importance of study breaks. Students often tend to lose focus while studying for long hours at a stretch without breaks. This frequent loss of concentration is termed as study burnout and has become a very common phenomenon among college students. Taking small study breaks helps students refresh and maintain their study performance. Various studies have also shown that these breaks are quite effective in helping students improve their concentration, boost their retention power and reduce stress-levels significantly. However, one needs to be mindful of the activities that they indulge in during study breaks. Indulging in activities that divert your focus from studies defeats the purpose of taking a break. Thus, in this article, we have explored some energising study break ideas that would aid you in your exam preparation. We have also highlighted a list of some distractions that you should refrain from during your study break.
What to do during study breaks?
When deciding what to do during your study breaks always remember that can lead to procrastination. A good study break is meant to help you refresh and return to your studies with a bang. Remember that activities that do not discourage you from returning to studies are the best break activities for you.
Go for a walk
Studying for long hours at a stretch means that you have been in the same room or space for a long time. It's best to give yourself a change of surroundings. Go for a short walk outside and get some fresh air. It will help you to get your body moving, feel refreshed and re-energised.
Any form of physical exercise helps your body relax and prevent stiffness that results from sitting in the same posture for hours. Take some time to relax and stretch your muscles. You need not indulge in hardcore exercising. Just small exercise like rotating your neck, stretching your arms and legs and other such basic exercises are good enough to get you moving.
Take a Shower
This is a highly effective break time activity in summer months. Don't we all feel refreshed after taking a shower? If you feel it's getting hard to concentrate and your mind is fatigued then take a shower and you'll surely come out revitalised.
Call your family and friends
Students usually study for long hours at stretch during exam season. They tend to isolate themselves completely during these study hours and the only sound falling in their ears is of their study playlist or their own, when they speak out loud in order to memorize the concepts. So, it usually helps to talk to someone. You could call your family or your friends. However, don't get stuck in the flow of conversation and go on to talk for hours on your phone.
A few minutes of meditation during one of your scheduled study breaks can go a long way to help you relax your mind and prevent a build-up of stress or anxiety. While meditating try and focus on some breathing exercises and free your mind of any thoughts. Experts also say that with regular practice of meditation you can increase your concentration and even memory retention power.
Look for creative outlets
Creative activities go a long way in helping your mind relax and refresh. Find out what creative activity interests you like doodling, dancing, drawing or colouring etc. Cooking also is a great creative outlet for some people. You could try fixing yourself a quick salad to satisfy your cravings while studying and it's a healthy meal option too. Be mindful that cooking is a time consuming act, do not over-indulge in the aroma of condiments that in turns backfires your study break.
What not to do during study breaks?
Activities that distract your focus from your studies are not a good break time activity. They only hinder your preparation and you waste your precious time. So, try and avoid any activity that makes it harder for you to return to your studies.
Snacking on junk food
A lot of us have a habit of snacking while studying. And since we don't like to get up again and again to cook something healthy, junk food is next good option. But, is it really a good option? We all know that junk food is not nutritious and it makes one lethargic and drowsy. So, it's best to steer clear of them while studying.
Taking a nap
Avoid taking a nap unless and until you feel it's absolutely necessary. Naps often make you feel more tired and slow down your productivity. However, if you feel that a nap is necessary then go for a quick power nap (not longer than 20 minutes) and don't forget to set an alarm.
Excessive Caffeine Intake
It's a common belief that taking caffeine rich drinks will help you stay awake and active while studying. While it might hold true for small and regulated quantities of caffeine, too much caffeine has an adverse effect on human body. Your caffeinated drinks might get you through the night and allow you to prepare all night long. However, once the effect of the caffeine starts to wear off, it’s a lot harder to stay awake as you have to make up for the lost sleep as well.
If you know, you are going to be studying for long hours then it's advisable to avoid stuffing your belly with too much food. Overeating or eating your full usually makes one feel lethargic and tired. Also, since you are going to be sitting for extended hours, it's better to rely on lighter meals that are spread throughout your study hours.
Watching TV or Playing Video Games
This is one of the most preferred and sought after break activity by most students. Watching TV or playing games on your phone appears most convenient pastime to unwind after a long study period. But these activities do little to aid your productivity and often act as distractions. They also divert your mind from studies and make it harder for you to focus once you are back from your break.
Studying for long periods during the exams is a challenging and tiring experience. But it doesn't really have to be. Exploring the ways to refresh your mind and body can go a long way in helping you build an effective and efficient study schedule. Plan ahead, stay hydrated and nourished, set goals with regular study breaks to remain relaxed and rejuvenated while studying for extended hours. Make the most out of your study breaks!