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8 ways to take a study break

The following blog post is written by one of our Residence Mentors, Helen.

Christmas is over. January exams loom over you like a heavy black cloud. No amount of mince pies will make up for the fact that you need to study - fast. Whether you’ve been ready for the exams all semester, or you’ve realised far too late that you know far too little, study breaks are essential. It may seem like you have no time for breaks because you need to cram crAM CRAM but the truth is that work and rest are interlinked; one won’t work without the other.
Whether you take my advice or not, all good study breaks follow certain rules: always take your break away from your study space i.e. don’t stay at your desk and check Facebook; get up. Also, don’t make them too long or too short. I would say 15-30 mins as this gives your brain time to recharge while not being so long as to distract you. 

  1. Go for a walk
    Appreciate the fact that we are blessed in Sheffield, with little pockets of tranquility like Weston Park and Endcliffe Park within walking distance. Go outside to wake up and get the blood flowing through that big ol’ brain again.
  2. Read
    I recommend fiction. You want to be able to escape and concentrate on something else for a while so put the journal article to one side for now. I pick up ‘A Game of Thrones’ on my breaks as the short chapters give the illusion of actual progress being made in a short time span. 
  3. Freshen up
    When you study all day, every day, you get into the habit of living like a swamp-dweller. Avoid this by using your break to freshen up, whether it’s painting your nails, having a shave or whacking on a face mask. Do something to make yourself feel functional again. 
  4. Watch a TED talk
    This is an educational and engaging way to have a rest. I don’t know about you but I always come away from a TED talk feeling like I am now an expert in that field so it’s a good confidence booster too. 
  5. Talk to someone about your studies
    So this one goes against my rule about ‘concentrating on something else’, but hear me out. Challenge yourself to talk about your revision enthusiastically, and make it sound really interesting to a friend, parent, whoever. It’ll reinvigorate you for when you go back. 
  6. Make a snack
    A lot of good recipes can be accomplished by even the most clueless chefs so why not combine your study break with a study reward by baking and subsequently indulging in some cupcakes?
  7. Get a workout
    A short, high-intensity workout is great for kickstarting the healthy body, healthy mind cycle. There are whole YouTube channels and apps devoted to this so find one that works for you. 
  8. Take a nap
    Listen to me very carefully. Naps are good. In moderation. The 30 minute power nap in between study sessions helps to consolidate what you’ve revised and recharge the brain but don’t go overboard. It’s not Christmas anymore; no more four hour naps!

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