Tips for Taking Study Breaks During the Fall Season
Are you burnt out from your semester? Studies show that bad mental health affects 83% of students' academic performance.
There are several things to consider when it comes to optimal study breaks. First, you want to find an environment that works for you and take fair and meaningful breaks. It's easy to slip into procrastination or burn yourself out, so it is a slippery slope.
Establishing realistic expectations early can make a big difference. Being honest with yourself can also help. Self-care, a walk in nature, and proper sustenance are also crucial.
Read on for a guide full of tips for taking study breaks during the fall season.
Find the Perfect Place to Study
The first tip for having the most productive study session and break is to find the perfect place. There's a reason why so many students opt for the library or a cozy cafe.
Not everyone has the same tastes or needs for their natural study habitat. It will take some work to figure out which kind of environment suits you best for studying and your breaks. One thing you want to do, however, is to create a distinction.
For many people, having an office separate from your home makes all the difference. It goes a long way in improving your mental health. How does this look for study breaks, though?
You don't need an office or to even leave your home. All you need to do is create a space meant for studying and another space, which is a study-free zone. It can be separate rooms, corners, or the same area arranged differently.
For example, you could clear your desk or table when you want to take a break. This makes it so you won't be looking at your books the whole time and stressing about taking a break. The key is to create two environments that let you switch between studying and not.
Set Yourself Realistic Expectations for Your Studying
When taking a college study break, you have to set realistic expectations. We are only human, and no one can study all the time. You have to create a study plan that you stand a chance of completing.
For example, if you know the text you'll be studying is dense and will take time, you have to plan for that. Don't underestimate things or think you can sit down and read for 8 hours straight. Most people aren't wired that way; chances are, neither are you.
Plan to take breaks that are realistic with your end goals. If you need to get 80 pages read by a certain time next week, start figuring out how you'll break up that task. Decide how many pages you want to read in a single sitting and what length of break would be acceptable in between.
See if the readings have natural sections, like chapters or subheaders. Read one section, take a short break, then read the next. You can use your break to think about what you've read in the background while you do other things, or you can keep your mind free until you resume.
You should never try and treat your studying as one total unit. Doing that can overwhelm you and make you miscalculate how much time you should allot. If you set realistic expectations, you'll be setting yourself up for success.
Take a Break in Nature
This might sound like another cliché, but taking study breaks in nature can help a ton. Many students find it helpful to go for a walk in the park or among the trees to clear their heads. It provides both a temporary relief from your studies, but it can also do something else.
When you walk alone, with nothing but your thoughts, you might actually turn your break into a study tool. You can think about what you've been studying and play with the concepts in your head. If you've been reading history, for example, you can think about what you would have done in that period.
When you think about what you've studied on your own terms, it becomes less difficult and scary. You no longer feel the time crunch or claustrophobia of your study nook. Instead, you feel the freedom of learning at your own pace.
Of course, this method doesn't suit everyone. Some people need to get away from it all for a bit.
You can do both if you combine your study area with the outdoors. For example, you can sit under a tree, read a chapter before closing the book, and take a nap. You could also slip your notebook back into your bag and go for a walk down the path to a cafe at the other end of the park.
The choice is always yours, but the mere act of being outside can make a big difference.
It doesn't matter how hard you know you can push yourself - you need to embrace self-care. This can look different for many people, but a few general tenets remain the same.
You need to take breaks that let you do things that relax you. However, you also need to take care of your basic needs and do things you enjoy. Both of these things don't have to be mutually exclusive.
If you've been studying for a while and feel burnt out, take a quick shower or a bath. On the surface, it might sound like basic hygiene, but it can relax and refresh you. Like our nature example above, this also gives you time to think about whatever you want.
Self-care can also look like taking a nap or rewarding yourself with your favorite snack. Remember, you aren't bribing yourself with goodies to study. You are taking care of yourself because being happy and healthy is essential.
You won't learn anything if you always feel stressed, anxious, or deprived. All that effort spent studying will end up being almost useless. Take care of yourself, and you'll have a better time studying overall.
Have an Honest Conversation with Yourself
It would be best if you also had an honest conversation with yourself. You need to stop procrastinating when you know better. You also need to mark the difference between taking a break and procrastinating.
We procrastinate because it's easier for our brains to do things we enjoy than it is to do the hard things. We also let a selfish interpretation of happiness take time away from studying, and this ends up creating problems.
The key issue is that when we procrastinate, we know what we do is bad. Students feel anxiety-inducing guilt when binging videos or playing games instead of studying. Part of being honest with ourselves is figuring out what happiness means for each of us.
Most of the time, it isn't the empty little pleasures we get from procrastinating. Instead, happiness is knowing we can enjoy our interests guilt-free once the work is over. Of course, everyone will define happiness in their own way, but one thing is certain.
Have an honest conversation with yourself. If you do, you'll procrastinate less and actually take fair study breaks.
A Few More Practical Tips
Practicing meditation or yoga might sound strange at first, but both activities can help give you that mental reset you need. Deep breathing exercises, in general, have proven effective for many students.
Something else you could try is doing something else which is also productive. Some students find that taking a break to tidy up their room or do chores can get them into a productive mood. The logic is that by treating studying as a chore on your list, you can check several off without spending too long on any one task.
Food and coffee breaks can also help, but it's easy to overdo it. Try to snack on something healthy; if you take a longer break, don't eat a big meal. The resulting food coma can drain your ability to come back from your university study break.
Too much caffeine can make you jittery or send your anxiety skyrocketing. Try switching to decaf or going for hot chocolate instead if a hot drink helps you study.
The last major practical tip is don't study too late. Take a break, take a nap, or pick up in the morning. Don't ruin your sleep schedule or circadian rhythm - it will hurt your ability to study and retain info.
The Best Tips for Study Breaks
At the end of the day, everyone has different study habits and techniques. How you handle your study breaks will be a preference, but these tips are universal. You want to be honest, do self-care, and set yourself up for success.
You don't want to burn out early in the semester, especially with online classes. Our students and staff at California Coast University know this all too well. If you'd like to take advantage of our self-paced model, contact us today.