10 Effective Study Breaks

One of the most essential parts of an effective study schedule is ensuring that you get enough breaks. Overworking yourself can lead to burnout and increased stress levels. Therefore, it’s important to give your mind a rest. The beauty of the online learning we provide is that you can take breaks whenever you need them, as you are not bound by classroom schedules or timetables.

How often should I take study breaks?
Everyone is different, and different schedules will work better according to the individual – but the general consensus for study breaks is little and often. The recommendation is to take hourly breaks that last around 15 minutes to half an hour. Again, you may amend this to suit your individual needs – this is just a guide.

Here's a roundup of our favourite study breaks that leave us feeling refreshed and ready to jump back into learning!

1) Go for a walk
Going for a short walk is a great way to clear your mind and refresh your senses. Exercise also improves brain function, as it increases your heart rate and pumps more oxygen to the brain! In a study by Stanford University, it was found that walking can increase creative output by up to 60%!

2) Tidy up
Tidy space, tidy mind! Working in a cluttered space can make it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Research has proven that untidy spaces influence our ability to concentrate. For example, a study at the University of Navarra found that volunteers were more prone to making errors whilst inputting data when they were in a cluttered environment. Decluttering your desk is a great way to keep productive whilst giving your mind a well needed break!

3) Take a nap
A quick power nap is an effective way to give your mind a rest and replenish your energy. Scientists have found that napping for 30 to 90 minutes has positive effects on recall and memory. However, try to limit your naps to an hour maximum: any longer may leave you feeling sluggish and have an impact your sleep schedule.

4) Have a healthy meal or snack
It is essential to nourish your body and mind. Give yourself the fuel you need to study with a healthy meal or snack. Don't forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated! Staying hydrated is crucial to your brain function. Studies show that dehydration can impair your visual perception, short-term memory and physical ability, so be sure to keep a water bottle on your desk.

5) Have a shower
Taking a shower is a great way to feel refreshed and revived. Showering also inspires some of our most interesting and inventive "shower thoughts.” This is due to the fact that your mind ‘switches off’ during showering, allowing your subconscious problem solving processes to come to the surface.

6) Do nothing!
There’s nothing better to relax your mind than doing, well, nothing! Zoning out for a while is a great way to switch off and give yourself a break. As with showering, zoning out and allowing your mind to wander can help new ideas to surface and problem solutions to form. So, sit back, relax, and unwind!

7) Deep breathing
If studying is stressing you out, being mindful about your breathing is a good way to relax and destress. The key is to breathe through your nose until your lungs are full, hold for a few seconds and exhale slowly through your mouth. Try doing this for a few minutes and see how relaxed you feel afterwards!

8) Get Creative!
Engaging in a creative activity like painting, drawing, music or dance activates parts of the brain that may not be used during study. This can help to refresh your mind, inspire new ideas and give you a fresh perspective.

9) Watch an episode of your favourite show
If you’re feeling down, watching an episode of your favourite comedy show or a funny clip on YouTube can help to lift your spirits and get you in a better frame of mind. This being said, beware of binge watching! Try and limit yourself to one or two episodes to avoid procrastinating.

10) Talk to a friend
Studying for prolonged periods can leave you feeling cooped up and cut off from the world. Inviting a friend over for a chat or scheduling a facetime catch up can give you a much-needed boost. If you are stuck on something, you may find that talking it through with someone else can help you.

What’s your go-to study break? Head over to our Facebook or Twitter pages and let us know!