This is a guest post by Debbie Lawrence - a content editor who primarily writes about online schools. You can contact her at dlawrence2[@]quinstreet.com with questions, comments, and suggestions.
After spending hours in the library studying your notes and researching key words and concepts on Wikipedia, students are recommended to take ten-minute study breaks every hour to re-stimulate their brain and reboot their minds for more material cramming. Some people have the willpower to study for hours on end without any distractions or breaks. However, a majority of people are not this type of superhuman and can only stay focused after having some form of a break to revitalize their studying sessions.
There are a variety of good ideas that you can use to restore the information you have already spent countless hours studying. Here are a few tips to give your eyes a rest from staring at computer screens and scribbled notes while simultaneously reminding yourself that life matters beyond the classroom.
Online Distractions: Among the various blogs and humorous websites that are accessible on the internet, popular sites such as StumbleUpon, Tumblr, The Oatmeal, Hunch, and The Onion are just a few of the most popular procrastinating websites that people can easily get stuck on.
Social Media Networking Sites: We all do it, and for some, it’s simply a therapeutic activity for mindless thinking and Facebook stalking. Maybe even getting updates of sports games on Twitter or talking with your friends about future events and activities on Facebook chat, G-chat, Instant Messenger, etc.
Video Games: Although more popular for males, there are a variety of brain-stimulating positive effects that are produced via playing video games. According to Peter Vorderer and Jennings Bryant in Playing Video Games: Motives, Responses, and Consequences, rapid information processing, inductive discovery and problem solving skills in a multimedia setting, cognitive development, and spatial visualizations are acquired solely for learning process techniques. Other qualities that may be acquired via video gaming include memory retention, motivation, sociability, and academic performance therapy.
Watch TV: Many people turn on the TV to catch their favorite TV shows and series. It helps get their mind off vocabulary memorization and stressful concepts. Watching TV episodes online is another popular choice with sites such as CastTV and Hulu who offer free viewings with high-quality resolutions.
Snack, Food, and Drinks: Replenishing your body with simple snacks, such as protein bars or a bag of chips will only last for a short period of time. For some, cooking is a therapeutic activity and a healthier option to replenish their body and mind. For others, cooking is like neuroscience and they would rather go out and buy food or order take-out. Either way, your body needs substance to refuel and maintain focus (no one can study with a gurgling stomach). According to fitnessandfreebies.com, bananas supply potassium to make you more alert and aid in retaining information, and the same goes for blueberries.
Exercise! Many people thrive on natural endorphins from exercising to reboot their studying sessions. Even if you don’t make it to the gym, or you go for a short visit, exercising helps clear your mind and helps you unwind naturally while simultaneously revitalizing your mind and body. Biking, hiking, surfing, running, swimming, and playing sports with friends are great outdoor activities to consider.
Sleep: A study by the National Sleep Foundation estimates that only 20 percent of teenagers get the recommended nine hours of sleep. However all-nighters sometimes just can’t be avoided and so taking thirty-minute naps every four hours will replenish your mind and help you think clearly. Chugging coffee to stay up is a clear sign that you need some form of sleep, and if you’ve reached the point where you feel wired but aren’t retaining any information, I would say it’s time for some “Sleepy Time Tea” and a short nap. Trust me, you’ll feel 120 percent better if you give your mind a break and allow it to restore to it’s normal state.
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
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