8 Great Study Breaks
It’s the “finals” countdown, and everyone needs a break from time to time
By Courtney Guth, University of Maryland
I have a confession. I should probably be studying right now. It’s final’s week here at UMD, and everyone’s beginning to buckle down and hit the books. This means late nights at the library and sleepless hours spent studying. However, as important as studying is, everyone needs a break from time to time. So yes, I should probably be studying right now, but I’m just enjoying one of my breaks for today.
Time management is key when it comes to planning your breaks; it all depends on how hard you work. Some breaks can be short, but after a long day of studying or reading, you can indulge yourself. You’ve worked hard, now rest easy for a bit. Here are a few great ideas to get you through final’s week and into the best break of all, winter break!
- Cook Something Yummy: After a long night of studying, you need some brain food. Rather than hitting the dining hall after hitting the books or paying too much for some late night munchies, make some food on your own. Cooking should not take too long, and the best part is it is productive. Ever heard the term food for thought? There is no better way to fuel your thoughts than with a tasty breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Cook with friends or cook for yourself, just make sure you stay well fed. Feed your tummy and feed your head.
- Exercise: Another great way to take care of your body during this tough week is to get out and get active. Hit the gym or clear some space in your dorm. Feel free to run out your frustrations on the treadmill or lift it all away with some weight training, but exercise does not have to be intense. It just has to keep you active. If running on the treadmill isn’t quite your speed, go ahead and throw a midnight dance party. That totally counts! The important thing is to get your body moving after spending so much time cooped up in the library. Maybe you can even reward yourself with a nap for all your hard work, both at the gym and with the books.
- Color: Remember the days when things were much easier, like in kindergarten? Your biggest worries were making new friends and scoring and extra treat during snack time. That was definitely far less scary than your impending organic chemistry exam or your speech presentation. Why not take yourself back to a much simpler time? You can easily channel your inner child with some coloring. No need to invest in a coloring book. There are plenty of coloring pages available online via a quick google search! Break out your crayons, markers, or pens…whatever you have available and let your inner child run free even for just a few minutes at a time.
- Build a Fort: This break involves a bit more of a time investment, but it makes for a fun evening activity after a long afternoon. It’s a another childhood throwback that will help calm you as your stress levels reach a maximum. No one can feel too stressed when surrounded by fluffy pillows and fuzzy blankets. Round up your friends and sheets, and tell them to “BYOB…Bring Your Own Blanket.” It certainly helps if a lot of your friends are engineers. We built a pretty epic one the other day that took up my whole apartment living room (granted, that’s really not a lot of space, but neither is a dorm room…you can make it work).
- Watch a Movie: Once you have constructed your fort, you can kick back and watch a movie in it. However, you don’t even need an epic for to enjoy one of your favorite films. Most movies are around 90-120 minutes. That is perfect for an afternoon break or a chance to wind down once you have finished one of your exams. I would not advise investing in a day long marathon of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars (as great as they are). Save that for when you need to kill time during your long winter break. Instead, pick a fun Disney movie or something good on Netflix.
- Play a Game: Your mind may need a rest but keep it active by playing a game. If some other people need a break too, you can gather them up for a rousing round of Apples to Apples or any sort of card game. If you are stuck playing solo, play a game on your phone or computer. I’ve recently become addicted to QuizUp on my iPhone. Trivia games definitely keep your brain going, but no worries if Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja are more your style. Short app games are the best way to step away from work quickly and then get back on task.
- Plan a Trip: Give yourself something to look forward once you push through your finals and plan a getaway. I love looking into trip deals online. You never know what you might find. This is the perfect time to step away from the books and dream a little. Research a study abroad trip or spring break vacation. Sometimes half the fun lies in planning the trip and getting excited about it. Even if you don’t go through with booking your vacation, just thinking about one works to relax your mind and provides a mental getaway at least.
- Take a Trip: If a temporary mental getaway just isn’t enough, then get out. I don’t advise running off to Europe. That would be a rather excessive break. However, you can at least get out of your apartment or the library. Even if it is only a trip to the grocery store, a trip will provide you with a much needed change of scenery. Take a short road trip with your study group to grab a bite to eat. Take a walk around campus to remind yourself what daylight looks like. Take time to take care of yourself.
I wish you all the best of luck as you push through your final exams and study struggles! Just remember to give yourself a break 🙂