Quick study break ideas

Zahra Mustansir


Its that time of the year again! Remnants of summer break are gone because midterm season is upon us. That means the engine is running full-time and students are pulling out their highlighters.

In this stressful time, things can get overwhelming. I for one have three midterms, two reports and an assignment all due before reading week. I’m drinking so much coffee that my blood is basically caffeine at this point.

In these trying times, we all need a little break. So here is some quick study break ideas to increase your productivity.

1. Cook a meal

I know it's tempting to place an order of McNuggets on UberEats to save time, but is it really helping you? Carbs are fast energy and they’ll leave you more depleted after you’ve used it up as an energy source. The better solution is to spend your 10 to 20 minutes cooking a quick meal or snack. My fave go-to meal is a grilled cheese with some nice cold milk. It’s super quick and is much healthier than the poutine I was going to order. 

Sometimes when I’m forcing myself to study, I get hungry a lot more frequently and that’s just a trick to make me not study. If I’m eating, I can’t study. By that logic, I eat a lot more than I’m supposed to.

My Grade 10 nutrition teacher told me something that I'll never forget. When you feel hungry, most of the time its your body’s way of telling you it's thirsty. And when you feel thirsty, you’re actually dehydrated, so you better drink some water really quick. That way, when you drink a glass of water, the hunger feeling subsidizes. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should drink water instead of eat actual food. Just be wary of what you want and what your body is telling you.

Ingredients on a wooden table

Pro-tip is to wait 20 minutes after one serving to go for your second serving. Your body takes time to energize.

2. Take a walk

A study environment usually has strong fluorescent lights, a laptop screen and small writings on paper. If you’re in that sort of environment for a long time, it can make your eyes feel tired and inevitably your brain as well.

Speaking from my own experience, taking a walk helps refresh my brain. Being around nature really just helps de-stress and wakes you up. By allowing yourself to take care of your body and mind, you actually become more productive. That's why self-care is so important

Man walking

3. Do nothing

I'm already really good at this!

By not doing anything you’re actually taking a break. Filling out your break with little activities really doesn’t shut your brain off. Occupying your mind with a task—even something as small as tidying up—doesn’t fully pause your brain. Of course, if tidying up is a break for you, do it!

So lie down, take a deep breath and stare at the ceiling. Swivel your chair. Play music on Spotify. Doing nothing is doing something.

Try meditation or do some breathing exercises as well to help clear your brain, so you can get back to focusing.

Woman sitting on balcony

Study break don'ts:

  • Excessive coffee consumption
  • Huge meals that make you sleepy
  • Napping
  • Snacking on junk food
  • Surfing the web

Remember, it may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but it will be after crossing this hurdle.

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