The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Energizing Study Breaks & What to Avoid

Whether you’re completing homework assignments or studying for final exams, these study breaks will reset the mind and warn against study break myths.
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We’ve all been there. Studying for hours on end, yet finding ourselves not getting anything done. While it may seem counter-intuitive, stepping away from academics for a short study break can be extremely beneficial. 

Breaks from studying have the ability to refresh the brain, increasing energy, performance, productivity and the ability to focus. Breaks don’t have to require long amounts of time; by setting aside several minutes throughout the day to clear your head, distractions can be reduced and focus increased. Whether you’re completing numerous homework assignments or studying for final exams, these study breaks will help reset the mind as well as warn against study break myths.

DO: Meditate

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Meditation — a highly beneficial practice of training the mind to focus on one thing at a time — allows students to release stressful thoughts and maintain focus. Both the slow repetition of mental mantras and physical movements are equally effective in relaxing the mind and the body. 

With a clearer mind, students are not only able to work efficiently towards deadlines, but they are also able to prioritize assignments, exams and projects. Insight Timer — a mindfulness app — is a great way to be guided through several minutes of peaceful meditation so you can go back to studying feeling relieved and refocused.

DON’T: Give in to Social Media

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Sometimes during study breaks, it can be easy to present yourself with tempting, long-winded activities like watching the news, scrolling through social media or engaging in a page-turning novel. Social media and streaming services are designed to grab your attention. Many times, students find themselves opening TikTok to scroll for a few minutes, then it’s suddenly hours later. 

To combat this, students can either set a short alarm to limit the time spent online, or they can consider not opening these enticing apps at all. Additionally, students can use this time on social media as a motivator for finishing studying or assignments.

DO: Get Moving

Photo Courtesy / Unsplash Jeffrey Grospe

It can be very strenuous for students to balance school, work, a social life and exercise. In fact, it’s easy to let fitness fall to the bottom of your priorities. However, physical exercises — including low-intensity activities like walking — release chemicals in the brain that allow for memory improvement, ultimately increasing the brain’s cognitive performance. 

Walking boosts memory and thinking by improving mood and sleep, as well as reducing anxiety and stress. So, when preparing for an exam or completing assignments, small walks weaved throughout studying provides students with strengthened retention.

DON’T: Overstudy

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Contrary to popular belief, studying 24/7 is not beneficial to students, nor is it allowing students to be increasingly motivated. In reality, overstudying can cause mental distractions, making it difficult to retain information as well as focusing on academics.

Often, students sacrifice their much-needed sleep schedule or crucial social life for studying, yet, balance is key. Even levels of sleep, studying and social life allow for increased productivity when needed, as well as releasing stress through mindless activities.

DO: Use Creative Outlets

Photo Courtesy / Unsplash Prophsee Journals

Partaking in creative outlets provides necessary breaks from the anxiety and stress of academics, focusing the mind on what is being created. Creative outlets use the right side of the brain, allowing the left’s logical side to rest from its use in studying. Some examples of respite-forward hobbies include listening to music, doodling or journaling. 

Journaling is an especially cathartic hobby that can be easily implemented into an everyday schedule; regardless of both the quantity and quality of your writing. Journaling at the end of each day is a great way for the minds of students to unwind and release stress.

Regardless of whether students are studying for a high-stakes exam or simply completing everyday homework assignments, short study breaks can enhance academic performance, focus and motivation. 

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