Study Breaks to the Rescue: 6 Ideas for the Best Breaks

Study Breaks to the Rescue: 6 Ideas for the Best Breaks

When I was in college, my mom went back to school, too. I always knew she was supposed to be studying when she’d call me “just to chat.” Ha! However, she was onto something. We all need to take study breaks. 

Ever tried to study all day (or night?) Your brain is mush afterward. We are not wired to work (or study) straight through. Our brains and bodies need some time to rest, unwind, and process. That’s where a good study break comes in handy!

Research has shown that studying for long periods of time uninterrupted isn’t useful. Instead, take a 5-minute break every 25-30 minutes. (If you’re using the Pomodoro Method, you’re on that schedule anyways. If you’re not using Pomodoro, why not??) After 3-4 sessions, take a 30-minute break.

But not all study breaks are equal – there are better ways to spend those study breaks than others. Let’s “break” it down! (See what I did there?)

Study Breaks to the Rescue: 6 Ideas for the Best Breaks

study breaks

Get Moving

OMG, your body needs to move. Sitting or laying down for hours just is not good for your body. And we often need the movement to get our brains processing. Research has shown that exercise can improve your learning. So please get moving.

If you have only 5 minutes, get up and stretch. Move out of the room you’ve been in and find some sunlight to enjoy. If you have a longer break, go for a walk or run outside. Check out more ideas here!

Eat something healthy

Repeat after me: Energy drinks are not my friend. You know what is your friend? Water and lots of it. So, fill that water bottle and start swigging. Also, throw in a healthy snack and you are on your way to some major brainpower and focus! I have healthy snack ideas here, here, here, and here.

Tidy Up

I am the queen of small-break productivity. And my favorite thing to do is tidy up. I feel virtuous and my room is so much cleaner. Organize your desk drawer, throw away any trash, put your notebooks back on the shelf. You get the picture.


If you’re just too tired, take a SHORT nap. We’re talking 20 minutes max. Set a timer and make sure it’s one you will actually respond to. If the chances are high you will sleep for hours, exercise instead.

Read for pleasure

I know – you just finished all that reading for history class. Why would you want to read more? But reading anything non-academic will feel like a vacation. Plus, some fun fiction will take you far away from your desk to someplace exotic, fun, or magical. Like Hogwarts.

Run an errand

My favorite quick errand is checking the mail. It gets me out of my house, I walk a few blocks, and maybe I get some fun mail! Return that book to your friend down the hall, hit up the corner store for some fruit, or take the dog for a walk. You can combine productivity AND movement. 

Study Breaks to Avoid

Not all study breaks are created equal. There are definitely better and worse ways to spend those precious minutes in between study sessions. Here are some not-so-hot ones:

Junk Food

I know that the energy drinks, candy bars, and chips are oh-so-tempting. But they are empty calories that will not help your brain or body. Grab a healthy snack instead!

Social Media

Check your phone for important text messages? Yes. Check your Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok? See you in 3 hours. It’s very easy to spend way too much time checking out other people on social media without actually getting any work done. Use social media as your reward for finishing.


I have been sucked in by a Netflix binge before. Several hours of my life just went poof! Do yourself a favor and leave it for after you’re done studying.

Hopefully, after reading this you have some effective ideas for how to rock your next study break and set yourself up for a killer study session!

What’s your favorite study break? Let me know in the comments below?

Related Posts: Will This Study Strategy Boost My Test Score?, Top 5 Study Distractions and How to Avoid Them, 5 Powerful New Study Habits to Try

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