When writing a paper, it’s important to properly structure your time. Many great writers set aside specific periods to write, interspersed with some breaks.
You might be thinking, “Take breaks? I like to charge through my paper and just get it out of the way. I don’t want to extend the process if I don’t have to.” While we applaud you for your resilience, we suggest breaks because it helps manage the stress and creative blocks you might experience writing a paper.
Taking regular breaks can help recharge your mind, allowing you to come up with even better work. This might save you time in the long run while also helping you produce your best work. Win-Win!
Now, you want to be thoughtful about your break. It should be short enough where you can pick up where you left off in your paper. It should be enjoyable, as you want to avoid anything stressful. And lastly, it should be easy to do, so you’re encouraged to take breaks. So what are some great ways to take a study break?
1. Play a quick game!
Games are a great way to have fun and de-stress. It can also help clear your mind. You don’t want to play super-addictive games that can suck you in. If you play Fortnite, for example, you might find yourself playing for hours. If you played Pokemon Go, not only might you play for a long time, you might physically leave where you’re writing your paper. Instead, we recommend quick and fun classic games. Try playing a game of solitaire or minesweeper, games that only take a few minutes at a time. You’ll have fun, and it will be easy to get back to work.
Given one of the goals of meditation is to remove all distracting thoughts from your head, there may be no better way to relax and clear your mind. If you don’t know how to meditate, just close your eyes for a few minutes, and take a few deep breaths in and out. You’ll feel much better, and be ready to get back to work with a new boost of creativity.
3. Eat a (healthy) snack
If you’re a foodie, this one is definitely for you. It’s a great way to reward yourself for the effort you’re putting into your work. We recommend having some almonds, which has a high level of vitamin E and can prevent cognitive decline. It’s perfect when doing a mentally strenuous activity like writing a paper. Make sure to pack your snack before you head to the library!
4. Call your mom
We’re social creatures, and catching up with loved ones is a natural way to feel good. It doesn’t have to be your mom. It can be your dad, brother, sister, friend, or significant other. They’ll be thrilled to hear from you. You can even discuss what you’re writing about, as the process of talking about it may give you new ideas when you start writing again. Lastly, be sure you call someone who WON’T keep you on the phone for a long time. You’ll want to get back to work and keep your train of thought.
5. Do pushups or jumping jacks
We know, we know, this is not gym class, but a little exercise helps with blood flow and can help you feel better both physically and mentally. Take a few minutes and do your preferred exercise. Not only is it healthy, but you’ll be able to write more effectively.
6. Draw pictures
Take out that pen or pencil, which you might rarely use any more, and draw something. If you don’t know what to draw, simply draw your surroundings. It’s a peaceful and relaxing activity that’s ideal for taking a break.
7. Listen to music
Take out those headphones or Airpods, and listen to your favorite songs. They can energize you and cheer you up, especially for those long research papers. If you listen to music while writing your paper, just stop writing and keep the music playing. Paying attention to the lyrics or beat can have a calming effect.
Try these easy ways to take a study break. Not only are they fun, but it will help you re-focus so you can produce your best work!