5 Tips for a Better Study Break

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by Michelle Toglia, freelance blogger

Let’s face it; watching reruns of The Office with a textbook on your lap does not qualify as studying. While studying is an integral part of the college experience, it’s not something we want to constantly be doing. Depending on our moods, energy levels and ability to focus, studying has the power to last well into the night. The key to a good study session involves focus, energy and low levels of stress. Oftentimes, these things come from an efficient, refreshing study break.

Dartmouth College recommends studying in chunks for 20-50 minute time periods with a brief break for 5-10 minutes. This method will allow you to remove yourself from your work and come back with a clear mind. Try out these easy, rejuvenating activities the next time you hit the books.

photo courtesy of pilatesfirenze.it

photo courtesy of pilatesfirenze.it

Move Your Body
Too late for the gym? Whip out your laptop and turn your room into a mini gym for 10 minutes. For a natural energy boost, try a free 10-minute dance workout from ExerciseTV. Even if you’re a horrible dancer, this energizing video will get your body moving and at least give you a good laugh.

If you’re looking to improve your concentration, try out a 10-minute Pilates workout.

Breathe In
If you’re stressed, work on your breathing with a meditation video. Clearing your mind for 10-15 minutes will eliminate your anxiety and allow you to re-tackle your work with more concentration.  MayoClinc recommends meditation in order to improve concentration, gain energy, and become more efficient. Relax with this meditation video.

Snack Break
Like a great car, a great mind cannot do its job without the proper fuel. Save your books some crumbs and head over to the common room or kitchen to prepare a healthy snack to boost your energy and mood.  Fuel your mind with foods low in sugar to avoid fatigue and moodiness. WebMd recommends eating whole grains like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and cereal to raise serotonin levels. For a boost rich in protein and carbs, try toasting a slice Arnold Whole Grains bread and add a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Studies on animals have also shown that blueberries improve memory. Sprinkle some blueberries on whole-grain cereal or low-fat yogurt to help with your studying session.

photo courtesy of healthhokkaido.com

photo courtesy of healthhokkaido.com

Tea Time
In addition to the numerous immune system and cholesterol-reducing benefits, tea may just be your new study buddy. Research shoes that a substance in green tea leaves, L-Theanine, may help with relaxation and reduce anxiety, says WebMD. Relax with a warm cup of Yogi Tea.

photo courtesy of converse.edu

photo courtesy of converse.edu

Walk it Out
Grab a coat and a friend and hit the Syracuse streets for a short stroll. Sure, the weather might not be favorable, but a burst of fresh air may be necessary. A short walk and talk will rejuvenate your mind and body.

Michelle Toglia is a senior magazine journalism major with a minor in marketing. She has written a health and beauty blog for LifeBrooker.com and is currently a senior editor of the print version of What the Health.

Her e-mail is mtoglia@syr.edu.

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