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Give Yourself a Break: 10 Ways You Can Take More Productive Breaks

Midterms are approaching, and finals are on the horizon. Whether you’re preparing for an exam, working to improve your study habits, or simply want to boost your productivity, it is important to know when to take a break. Taking time to refocus and recharge helps us minimize stress and avoid burnout.

The Pomodoro Technique

Aim to be intentional in your breaks. Consider what you want out of your time. Are you motivated to do something you’ve been excited about, or do you just want to relax? Answering this question can guide any activities you take on during your break, and prevent you from spending a mindless hour on social media.

If you’re searching for a way to stay focused and on-task during your studies, consider the Pomodoro technique. It’s a time management technique that can be used outside of your studies as well. The premise of this method is to take regular, short breaks after working on tasks for a set time.

You can adjust the groups of time to fit your study style. If you have trouble doing pomodoro on your own, try it with a friend or follow a YouTube video.

If you’re looking for some ideas of how to spend your break time, look no further. Here are 10 ways to take more productive breaks:

1. Exercise

What do exercise, dancing, and hot girl walks all have in common? They all release dopamine, a natural mood booster. Take time to move your body and clear your mind. A study from the National Library of Medicine shows that exercise not only makes us feel more energized and motivated, but can also improve concentration and enhance creativity.

2. Complete a Small Task

If you absolutely cannot take a break, it may be helpful to switch up your task. Running an errand or tidying up your space knocks something off of your to-do list and it might help you feel more productive. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a large task, break it into smaller ones so you don’t feel inclined to procrastinate.

3. Get Creative

Drawing or painting can be therapeutic. Creative writing or journaling gives you an opportunity to unwind your mind. Whatever your preference, exercising your right brain improves your mood, alleviates stress, and enhances problem solving.

4. Make Yourself a Snack

Don’t let hunger act as an obstacle to your studies. Grabbing a quick snack or preparing dinner is fun and delicious. Make sure to fuel your body so you can stay energized and focused on your studies.

5. Grab a Coffee

Coffee in the morning is popular for a reason. Research shows that a cup of joe is positively related to alertness, concentration and performance. It is also shown that having a coffee right before taking a quick nap of twenty minutes or less can improve your focus significantly more than each of those activities on their own. However, remember, all things in moderation. Too much caffeine, especially when combined with a lack of sleep, could result in a crash later in the day.

6. Meditate

Take time to be present, to practice mindfulness and appreciation. There are plenty of guided meditations available on YouTube and Spotify, or wherever you listen to your music. If possible, consider taking your break outside, especially during these beautiful fall days. Take in the benefits of grounding, fresh air, and vitamin D.

7. Shower

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably found some of your best ideas in the shower. Seemingly mindless activities actually promote subconscious thinking, bringing you creative thoughts and solutions. Taking a shower can also be relaxing. This form of self care often leaves you feeling revitalized and ready to be productive.

8. Listen to Music

Research has shown that listening to music can improve your memory, both while learning and during recollection. You can explore playlists specifically made for studying, or set the tone for your study session with your genre of choice. Music can help us feel motivated, stay productive, and manage anxiety.

9. Socialize

It can be easy to get consumed by our work, especially when we’re busy, but don’t forget to interact with other humans. This will boost your mood, improve your feeling of connectedness, and is an opportunity to confide in others.

10. Take a Nap

Taking a power nap can leave you refreshed, relaxed, and less tired. However, try to keep it under 30 minutes to avoid falling into deeper sleep, which can cause you to feel groggy and will likely be more difficult to wake from.

After hours of hard work, it can feel hard to concentrate, and you may find yourself easily distracted. Make sure to reward yourself and take regular breaks.There’s no right or wrong way to take a break, but we recommend that you consider if your chosen activity might boost your productivity or hinder it. It’s probably no surprise that your phone can feel addictive and can be a major distraction if you allow it. Skip the screen if you can and take time to unplug and re-energize. Take a break, you deserve it.

By: Katie Brintle

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