Ahh – the cherished study break. It’s the time students can come up for air, after months of being swamped by lectures, readings, essays, and exams. You’ve earned this time for yourself, and you’re free to choose how to use it (or how to waste it, as it so often goes despite our best intentions).
It’s likely you’re feeling pretty exhausted, and exhausted people are particularly vulnerable to the lure of passive activities – like somehow finding their way to their brother’s best friend’s cousin’s Facebook page. So if you’re going to do study break like a champ, it’s worth having a think about how you want to spend it beforehand. To help you brainstorm, we’ve come up with a 2-phase strategy to ensure you’re ready for your next study period, with no regrets.
Phase 1: Wind down
Take a breather from your constant state of go-go-go! Here are some great ways to wind down after a crazy stint of study.
Watch TV/Movies or read a book
If you’re going to do it – do it right. Put down your phone, and let yourself get fully absorbed in a good story. It’s the perfect escape from reality, so for once, say no to multi-tasking.
Not in a studious kind of way – you’ve done enough of that already. YouTube, for example, is the perfect arena for casual learning. Check out Crash Course, which takes speed-teaching (of pretty much any subject you can imagine) to a fun and colourful new level. Make Something could be the perfect resource for aspiring woodworkers, and for budding dressmakers, WithWendy has some beautifully produced how-to videos.
Change up your scenery
A swinging hammock under a Hawaiian palm tree may not be within your budget, but it doesn’t mean you have to sit at home. For a low-cost treat when the weather is brisk, drive out to a natural hot spring and bathe amongst the trees. You could rough it up at a campsite, or dive into history, with a long walk through a heritage site or museum. There’s so much to do on a budget, so get out into the world.
Try something new
New experiences can feel like an effort, especially when you’re tired, but they can be surprisingly invigorating. Get moving with a form of fitness you’ve never tried, such as Barre Body, which takes its cues from Ballet, Bounce Inc to unleash your inner trampolining child, or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for a workout with discipline and rich history. If you’re more of a foodie, have a taste of the latest and greatest creations, such as a Buddha bowl, or the newest pastry hybrid (the sushi-stuffed croissant?)
Phase 2: Gear back up
When your emotional spring cleaning is fully complete, it’s time to get back into gear. The more prepared you are, the more mental energy you can dedicate to getting those HDs.
Get familiar with the upcoming study topics
If your course materials are available, download them ahead of time and get them organised. If you can, have a quick skim (at least of the subheadings) so you can wrap your head around the structure of the topic(s) you’re about to jump into. If the learning ahead looks complex, trying reading about the topic on Wikipedia, or watching a video to get a less-academic overview first. Easing yourself in will ward off that new-topic apprehension.
Prepare freezer meals
Busy people don’t have time to cook, and often make bad meal decisions on a whim. Make sure that’s not you, because healthy food is key to focused mind. Hop on Google to find some freezer-friendly recipes, and get cooking!
Re-jig your study space
You’re going to be spending a lot of time there, so make sure it’s, first of all, clean. A chaotic workspace can influence your state of mind, so clean it up, and make sure you have everything you need. Once that’s done, ask yourself if your current space is working for you. Does facing a wall demotivate you? Is there any natural light to bring up your mood? All of these elements contribute to your success as a student.
So with some ideas up your sleeve, do a bit of your own research, and make a to-do list. If after some consideration, a 5-day movie marathon is truly what your heart desires – you go for it. There are no right or wrong answers, so do what it takes to hit your personal refresh button.