Self-Care & Study Tips for College Students
Don’t jump from studying one subject directly into studying another. Students should take breaks between study sessions. The concept of studying in increments is nothing new. The Pomodoro Technique, as it is called, is a time management technique where the student studies for 30-45 minutes and then takes a 10-15 minute break. Even if you need to study or work on one project for a specific class for 2 hours, the Pomodoro study shows it’s still best to break that 2 hours into 3 or 4 segments.
But what should you do with that 10-15 minutes between?
What you should not do is fret over the work that is yet to be done. Worry and anxiety will not help you.
When taking a break, even if it’s just for 10 minutes do something that brings you joy and takes your mind off of your studies. But set a timer and stick to it! Here are a few ideas.:
Have a cup of hot tea. A study conducted by Dr Malcolm Cross and Rita Michaels, psychologists at the City University London showed drinking tea can help reduce stress and anxiety. The literature suggests drinking tea is associated with positive mood and feelings of relaxation, and that its chemical properties have been linked with making the brain more alert. All things that would be positive for college students.
Paint your nails. According to Greta Angert, a psychotherapist who specializes in anxiety, in an article in Huffington Post on April 17, 2017, painting your nails can help alleviate stress, boost your mood, and give you confidence.
Listen to a few of your favorite tunes. You can make it easy on yourself by creating a “Take a Break” playlist on YouTube or on iTunes. Limit the playlists to 15 minutes each so that you don’t go beyond your designated break time.
Listen to your favorite podcast. There are podcasts that cover any and every topic under the sun. Many are longer than 15 minutes, so either find a few that are typically short or set a timer. But don’t select podcasts whose topics will be emotionally charged where you’ll end up angry.
Spend a few minutes on a hobby. Like to paint? You could get a kiddie sun catcher paint by number kit and have something to hang in your window. It is a seasonal time of year? How about building a gingerbread house kit? Just because a craft is labeled “For age 3-10” doesn’t mean it won’t be a fun distraction.
Take a walk outside, or a run, around your home, dorm, or apartment. Inclement weather conditions? Can you walk the halls, or up and down the stairs? If this “break activity” is new for you, set a timer for 1/2 of your break time, then turn around and come back to your room. Make a mental note of where you turned. If you travel the same path several times it becomes routine. According to the America Psychological Association, Nurtured by Nature article dated April 2020, being out in nature may improve your mood, reduce stress, improve physical health (may reduce the potential “Freshmen 15”), improve confidence and self-esteem, and reduce loneliness.
Listen to meditation on YouTube. The cool thing about meditation and YouTube is that you can find meditations that are 10 minutes and 15 minutes long, and of varying types. Search “meditation for” and let the search engine fill in the blank. There is meditation for relaxation, focus, memory, etc.
Call a friend, or our mom, or a sibling for a quick chat to say, “Hi! I have a 10 min break and just wanted to see what’s happening with you!”-This only applies if doing so is not going to bring up feelings of loneliness, loss, or homesickness!
No one can stop at just one. Know your limits! - Use caution with things that could get out of control such as:
Watching a 45-minute show on Netflix. I’m a huge fan of anything that is a series, Netflix, Hulu, whatever! It’s easy to become involved with a character and want to know, “what happens next!” But this is a sure-fire way to get stuck NOT doing homework. This comes from personal experience. Bad idea.
Playing a video game. Games of any kind are awesome and especially fun when you’re playing it with others whether live or online, but it may be best to keep those to a scheduled once per week, such as a D&D game with several other people. Playing solo video games is not different. It can still steal away your time even when there’s no social aspect to it. I have yet to know anyone who can switch it off after only 10-15 minutes. They’re designed to keep you engaged.
To Your Success,
(Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-wearing-a-pajama-holding-her-head-6029189/)