Tips for an Effective Study Break

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As a nursing student, you are probably used to long hours of studying. After a couple hours, you might feel tired and frustrated. Who can blame you? Most of that material is hard! While you may try to fight through the fatigue, the best way to help your brain is to take a break from the books.

How long should my break be?

Experts recommend a break every 90 to 120 minutes for 15 to 20 minutes for peak brain performance. That means if you study for two hours, you should aim to take a 20-minute break to destress and recharge.

Need a productive way to spend your break?

  1. Get moving- Sitting hunched over a desk for three hours isn’t comfortable for anyone. Magazine suggests moving to get your blood flowing and increase productivity when you return to your seat. Run up the stairs, go for a walk or simply dance around your desk. Whatever you choose, your body will thank you.
  2. Meditate- At this point, your brain is full of information and probably craving some rest. National American University Canada recommends meditation to clear your mind and give yourself a break. It can also help reduce anxiety, lower stress levels and fight depression. Meditating can be as simple as closing your eyes and focusing on your breath, or you can try apps like Headspace, which provides guided meditation practice.
  3. Fuel up– Hours of studying can definitely make you hungry. If you find that your stomach is growling, try taking a break to have a healthy snack. According to the S. Career Institute, eating something healthy will help boost your energy levels so you can return to the books recharged.
  4. Pick up around the house- Is there a pile of clothes on a chair you have been meaning to put away? If so, take a quick study break to tidy up. Picking up around the house can help you be more productive when you get back to studying. It will also reduce any stress you may have about the mess.

What should you not do on a break?

There are a lot of productive ways to take a quick break, so it is best to avoid any activity that will cause a long-term distraction. If you are tempted to grab your phone and scroll aimlessly through Facebook, you shouldn’t pick it up at all. Checking a message or making a quick call can easily turn into a two-hour social media spiral. The same goes for taking a quick nap. While 15 to 20 minutes of shut-eye can improve productivity, any longer and you are sure to lose focus.

As the semester begins to pick up, you will probably spend more time hitting the books. Don’t forget to schedule break times and give yourself time to practice self-care. The more you focus on balance, the more productive you will be.

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