Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

The importance of taking breaks while studying

Whether it be essays, presentations, or reports, we all have some kind of deadline looming above us at this time of year. In our current climate, it has become undoubtedly harder to focus as well as take breaks due to the lack of separation between study and socialisation. This can make everything seem more overwhelming than usual – I have just submitted the first of my four essays of the term, and it feels like it is never going to end.

The deadlines I’m facing this term are incredibly daunting, with four consecutive essays due a mere two to five days apart. I’m not entirely sure who chooses these deadlines, but I find these to be particularly awful. Like most essay-based subjects, it takes a lot of planning, reading and research for these 3000-word pieces. To do this as well as my regular reading, presentations and lectures, is becoming draining.

In a utopic world, deadlines would be flexible during a pandemic. In reality, we have to plod along like other workers and perform as if we are in normal circumstances. I deem it to be rather cruel subjecting students to this workload, whether it be university or A-level students. In addition to feeling drained due to the lengthy pandemic, this added workload is exhausting.

The deadlines I’m facing this term are incredibly daunting

When facing deadlines before the pandemic, we could take breaks by socialising with friends. For some, going on a night out would be a perfect detox to recover from deadline-blues, and for others, it could be going to the cinema to refresh yourself. While those very activities can be completed in your own home, there is very little freedom or break from work now.

As someone who regularly used the student cinema, it has been hard to find a perfect break from the deadlines. Even finding space to separate my studies from my hobbies has become tough due to awkwardly small student housing restrictions. One of my roommates is persistent about not doing work in bed because of the supposed ‘negative associations’, but how can you not when you’re tired of sitting at an uncomfortable desk all day staring at horribly bright screens?

Finding time to take recesses from work is so important, no matter how many deadlines we have. A year ago, I would have chosen to play a game to take a break, but recently I’ve been sick of sitting and staring at my screen all day. It is perhaps easier to come away from screens in general, though gaming and watching movies is a very fun contrast to essay reading.

It is essential to force yourself to take breaks

Despite the deadlines, I forcefully and gratefully end my day at seven or eight. Whether it’s watching a movie in bed or reading a book, time is needed away from university pressures.

Throughout lockdown, my one comfort has been food. It’s rather tricky for a person who doesn’t eat eggs to get into baking, so it is more relaxing to take my time and cook a nice meal for myself. I usually mark the end of my dinner as the time to put the work away. I’ve tried many ways to detox from the work I do during the day. Even sitting for two hours, making a new Spotify playlist is a way to unwind after a long day.

Not all hours spent away from studies have to be productive either. Although it can seem hard to make time amid this ongoing stress, it is essential to force yourself to take breaks. As long as your time away from the deadlines, lectures and more is spent on relaxing yourself, it’s all good.

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