How to optimize your study breaks?

We already arrived in the last weeks of the first semester! You might already be preparing to leave our lovely city to return back home or fantasizing what your next semester in Utrecht might bring..

— But first: final exams and papers!!    —

The university libraries are packed from 9 o’clock on, students are stressing, papers, documents and summaries are spread over all the desks, fingers are drumming on the laptop keys, sweat is dripping from foreheads.. Oh yes, it is time for an emergency post!


Our lovely Nanda and Alissa already gave some great tips on how to beat procrastination and stress during the exam weeks (read it here) and showed the best alternative study spots in Utrecht (read it here). But one of the worst spend and most neglected moments of a study session doesn’t take place during the studying itself, but during the study break! That might seem contradictory as the study break should free you from studying and clear your head, but a badly spend study break might only increase your stress level and reduce your motivation.  A good spending of your study break is essential to re-boost your energy to successfully continue your study session. Therefore I think it is time to focus on the study break this time, instead of on the studying itself. And as I’m struggling at the moment as well, giving myself the least amount of break-time, I think it’s time for me listen to my conscience and to use my own tips for myself as well..

Therefore, I would like to show you (and myself) five ways to optimize your study breaks to re-boost yourself for the next study session.


  1. MOVE!

To be able to really detach yourself from your study material it is important to leave your study spot, so you won’t be able to even cast an eye over it. The new atmosphere of another environment will automatically focus your mind on the new impressions you get in this place. Immerse yourself in this environment and relax.


Next to mentally boosting your energy, it is very important to also physically boost your energy! You won’t achieve anything while falling asleep.. Therefore, stimulate your body with some power food! Think of fruit (banana’s and apples for quick energy, blueberry’s to help you focus), nuts (Cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts are high in magnesium, which plays a key role in converting sugar to energy), dark chocolate (seems less healthy, but contains theobromine which is similar to caffeine and boosts your energy and mood!) and grains. But some power drinks => COFFEE/ BULLET, although not always that healthy, can do the job as well.


Probably the best way to keep you from thinking about your study subject is talking with other people about other subjects. Conversations can make you think about other subjects, but also take you out of the quietness of studying and back into the social world. Plus, if your study session has made you desperate and you need some help to find your motivation back, someone else can always give you some motivating speech.

  1. WALK

Of course walking helps you to get out of your study environment, but it also helps you getting your body out of your study position. Stretch your back, shoulders and neck to prevent cramps and prepare your body for the continuing of your study session.


This might sound way to woolly, but it doesn’t necessarily involve sitting in an impossible position with your yoga pants on, while making a weird ‘hmmm’ sound. Just closing your eyes or listening to music can already make you very calm and relaxed, ready to attack the next subject!


By Melodie Zöllner

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