Taking a study break is a slippery slope. There is no denying it is a crucial part of effective revision, because revision is only worthwhile when it’s being executed effectively, and it can’t be effective when we are too tired or burnt-out from focusing too long.
Breaks are key in maintaining our concentration and keeping us from wasting our time on revision that we’ll forget as soon as we take our eyes off the page. However, a well-meaning study break can all too easily turn into a “study break”, we all know kind: under the guise of thoughtful self-care we do everything in our power to not get back to revision and before we know it, it’s the day of the exam and our textbooks and revision notes have remained untouched for weeks.
A study break can take either one of these forms or be somewhere in the grey in-between. Only you know what study breaks become you, and it is for this reason that this article comes with a warning attached; only take breaks that you know won’t scupper your work ethic and flow.
For some, this might be short, regular ten-minute breaks, for others an hour-long relax – it all depends on you. Warning in tow, here are five ideas for revision breaks that you can adapt and change to work for your studying style.
1. Watch a movie, TV show* or YouTube video
The good thing about watching something is that it is a passive activity. This gives you the chance to completely switch off, zone out and spend an unadulterated study break thinking of things far away from studying. It’s a good idea to get your mind as far away from studying as you can when you take a break, as it’ll leave you feeling refreshed and ready to dive in again.
*Be careful watching TV shows on a break, as the inconclusive/cliff-hanger nature of shows might lead you to accidentally (“accidentally”) watch one after another, eating into your studying time and risking never getting back to it.
2. Go for a walk, a jog, or work out
Exercise does great things for your mind: it relieves stress; it boosts your mood with the release of endorphins; it boosts your self-esteem; it lets you vent your frustration in a constructive way; it clears your head and helps you maintain perspective. For this reason it’s your ideal companion during exam period and is flexible enough that it can work for anyone.
3. Go on a deep-dive on social media
Since you have been diligently resisting the temptation of social media while you’ve been revising (cough), it’s time to treat yourself to deep-dive on social media. Scroll away on your Instagram feed and lose yourself in stalking the profile of someone you knew ten years ago. Read every confession ever submitted to LeedsFess on Facebook (or YorFess, if you exhaust our beloved uni fess page). Send out messages to all your friends about how stellar or soul destroying your revision is.
#LeedsFess1064Back to life, back to reali- revision 🙁
4. Make a list of all the things you’ll do after exams
This one is a real morale-boost. If you are finding the stretch of revision you just did was particularly taxing, take the time to fantasise about all the things you’ll be free to do once exams are ahead. You could find recipes you want to make, places you want to visit, or arrange to meet friends. Having a physical list of what waits beyond exams will inspire you to power through, too.
5. Write a listicle for the Gryphon
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your very own work posted by the Gryphon, and for those with a penchant for writing, the act of writing an article is fulfilling and a welcome distraction from revision.