We’re full swing in the season of exams, term papers, final presentations, and the like. Time to hit the textbooks like a fiend and pray you make it through to the other side (to the holidays, yay!) in one piece.
But intense cram-sessions and hours staring at scribbled notebook pages can be rather distressing, not to mention a serious drain on your brain. Better schedule in a handful of de-stressing study breaks if you want to actually absorb what you’re reading, and maintain that little thing known as… mental sanity.
Take a look at BookRenter’s roundup of 11 Ways to De-Stress When You’re Hittin’ the Books Big-time. From fixing a snack to catching up on pop culture to some good ole’ fashioned Pranayama (fancy yoga term for breathing!), the goal of these de-stressing tactics is to get your brain thinking about something other than your academic deadlines for a little while.
#1 Surf the Internet. For 15 minutes, let your addled mind go numb with all the cool stuff the web has to offer. May we suggest Buzzfeed, Cracked, Pinterest, and FoodGawker, for go-to sources of quasi-useless information and tantalizing eye-candy.
The key with this tactic is moderation . It’s totally possible to lose between one and eight hours to mindless web surfing (trust me). Set an alarm on your phone or an egg timer, or something. Don’t drift forever!
#2 Watch a Couple of Viral Videos. Similar to Tactic #1, but with an amped up zone-out factor. The videos’ virility means they’re pre-vetted for maximum entertainment value. Buzzfeed’s Video Feed is a good place to start.
If that didn’t make you laugh (one great way to de-stress!), at least it was one minute forty-four seconds spent not studying.
#3 Catch Up on the News. Study breaks don’t have to mean “brain vacation!” You can recharge by simply focusing on something other than the textbook in your lap. Spend 15 minutes perusing the homepages of BBC, MSNBC, NPR, or another news site of choice. Stay in touch with what’s up in the world beyond your studies.
#4 Make a Cup of Tea. Can you think of anything more relaxing than a hot cup of herbal tea? (If you can, skip down to de-stressing tactic #5.) We’re fans of Yogi Calming Tea, Tazo Calm Tea, Lipton’s Quietly Chamomile, and Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer, to name a few. Happy to report these warm beverages live up to their soothing names.
#5 Imbibe… Responsibly. Okay, so maybe a cup of tea isn’t your… cup of tea. There’s nothing wrong about unwinding in between mega study sessions with an ice cold brewski or a spot of wine (though the latter could make you rather sleepy). Just make sure you keep it to one (maybe two…) or you run the risk of A) getting wasted and passing out, or B) forgetting everything you “think you studied” come test time.
#6 Feed Your Gut. Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone, like, eight hours without eating because you were “just too darn busy studying.” Not smart. Your body needs fuel to help power your brain to remember all the dates and facts you’ve been pouring over all night.
Treat yourself to something special, even if it’s not a giant meal (probably best if it’s not… steer clear the food coma). Sushi, cheese and crackers, a bowl of cereal, a warm, soft cookie, a piece of candy, etc. Pick something that will make your tummy happy, but won’t turn you into a sluggish grease-monster.
#7 Meditate. Close your eyes and count to ten. Or lay down on the ground and space out for five minutes. Breathe deeply and let your mind wander. You may be surprised by how refreshed you feel upon returning to reality.
#8 Listen to Some Enya. Okay, it doesn’t have to be Enya, but you get the idea. Listen to some chill tunes and forget about studying for a while. Pairs nicely with Tactic #7.
#9 Get Movin’. Stand up, stretch, do some Surya Namaskara. Your stiff bones will appreciate the sudden stimulation and your brain will dig the healthy burst of oxygen.
© Natalia Danecker – Fotolia.com
#10 Change Your Surroundings. An extension of Tactic #9– if you feel like you’re hitting a wall / the edge of sanity, switch up your scenery. If you’ve been cramming in the library, go home. Chained to the kitchen table all day? Head to a café. If nothing else, go for a little walk around the block to clear your mind.
#11 Take a Cat Nap. When all else fails: Go to sleep. BUT! Set an alarm Let yourself nod off for 15 or 20 minutes. You’ll awake a revitalized student, ready to resume your studies like a champ.
Do you have any special tips for de-stressing during study sessions? Share them below!