Taking study breaks while studying is the equivalent of refuelling your car’s petrol tank when going on a road trip — absolutely essential in reaching your destination successfully. Neither your brain nor your car can run continuously without rest. Sometimes you need to stop, get out of the car, and admire the view from where you’re standing. The same goes for when you’re studying. Stop, step away from your books, and reward yourself when you reach your various study goals.

It’s important for you to realise that taking study breaks can have either positive or negative consequences, depending on how you spend them.

Here are five tips on how to take effective study breaks:

These tips will sharpen your mind and refuel your body so that you can tackle your next study session at full speed:

1) Practise your hobbies:

Taking up a hobby can have several benefits, including relaxation and creative stimulation, which are both great when taking a study break. Hobbies like drawing, knitting, dancing, solving puzzles, painting, reading, or gardening will not only take your mind away from studying for a while, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself while doing something constructive.


2) Meditate

Meditation allows you to clear your mind of stress and other disruptive thoughts, and to replace them with calm, positive ones. Move away from your study space and sit somewhere where you are comfortable and not likely to be distracted (your living room or garden may work well). Sit upright, close your eyes, and slowly breathe in and out for about 15 minutes. Clear your mind while you do this, and focus on your breathing instead.

3) Exercise

Play with your pet outside, do yoga or Pilates, go for a bike ride, go for a run or walk around your neighbourhood, or visit the gym. Even gentle or moderate exercise will energise your body and help you to stay healthy at the same time.


4) Tick an item off your to-do list

We always remember the things that need to be done when we don’t have any time to do them, and the thought of these long to-do lists can actually distract you so much that you can’t concentrate on your studies. Allow yourself to tick one item off your to-do list during a study break to ease your mind regarding all the things that need to be done.

5) Spend time with family or friends

Have you ever felt so consumed by your studies that you aren’t able to make time for human interaction? This is a big deal, as human interaction can be an instant mood booster. Call a friend to catch up, spend some time with your family at home, or spend some time outside of the house by meeting a friend or family member for coffee or a walk.

Family playing a board game

Want to find out more about how you can study more effectively?

Originally published on 30 September 2015