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7 Signs it’s Time for a Study Break

We’re big fans of work hard, play hard around here, but sometimes we get more focused on the ‘work hard’.

As a student (especially if you’ve just started uni, an apprenticeship or traineeship), making time to rest in between your busy schedule is a must. Otherwise, you can quickly experience burnout – not good!

Some stress can be good (we wrote about this before), but it’s all about striking the right balance.

First Things First: What is Student Burnout?

You might have encountered the term ‘burnout’ in relation to the workplace – but it can affect anyone, and student burnout is becoming more recognised.

Student burnout has many similar symptoms to workplace burnout, including exhaustion, low motivation and low productivity.

But it also has symptoms unique to students that can help you identify whether your feelings are just a phase or something more. These symptoms include:

  • Trouble maintaining focus for a good amount of time.
  • Lack of interest in things you used to love studying.
  • Low mood and motivation to do other tasks, such as favourite hobbies or team sports.
  • Loss or lack of creativity.
  • A drop in your academic performance.

There is a way out of student burnout and recognising these symptoms is a great starting point.

7 Signs it’s Time for a Study Break

Ideally, we want to balance our time and energy to avoid burnout before it becomes chronic.

But when your plate is full of deadlines, exams, and work projects, how do you know when you need a break and when you should just keep going?

Below are seven surefire signs it’s time to give yourself some headspace:

1.You keep finding reasons to procrastinate.

Just one more snack from the kitchen? Another episode on Netflix? Making another drink?

Whatever it is, if you keep sitting down only to find yet another reason not to get started, it’s a good sign you need a proper break from things. These ‘short’ little procrastinations are just another way of your brain saying it needs a breather – take one! 

2. You’ve been sitting in from of your computer for a while …

Staring out the window? Mindlessly scrolling on your phone? Doodling?

If you’re sitting in front of your computer with the cursor blinking at you but not actually getting anything done, it’s time to turn off that screen and get outside for a bit.

Why not use this time to run any updates on your computer and use this as a chance to encourage yourself to take a proper break?

3. Your To Do list is getting longer, not shorter.

A To-Do list is a great way to plan your time and get a good visual of everything you need to achieve in a given day or week.

But if that list is simply getting longer with nothing getting checked off, it will only make you feel worse (and less like you can take a break). But you know what will help kickstart you to tackle it once more?

You guessed it: a break!

4. You don’t know where the day went.

We love it when we’re so engaged in our work and studies that the day just flies by – there’s something really satisfying about being in the zone.

But if you’re feeling time slipping by with nothing to show for it, that’s not a fun place to be.

You might feel like this if you’ve gotten sucked into a social media scroll. Scrolling tricks our brains into making us feel like we’ve ‘done’ something because we’re consuming and engaging with content. The trouble is, it doesn’t aid our work and studies.

Losing days? Delete the apps, and do something that actually engages your brain and body – a hike, swim or bike ride, cleaning up your room, gardening – whatever speaks to you!

5. You keep turning down invites to hang out with your mates.

Even though you might keep procrastinating, you don’t feel like you can accept invites to go out with your friends and family.

The guilt of not spending every hour locked away studying can make us think we can’t ‘afford’ to go out with others and enjoy what we usually do.

PSA: You can – and should! Make downtime with your friends a part of your study routine to avoid this guilt and boost motivation and productivity.

6. You keep getting headaches.

One of the clearest signs that it’s time to step away from the studies is when it starts impacting your physical health.

Headaches, eye strain, hand cramps, back or neck pain (from sitting hunched over a keyboard) indicate that you’ve pushed your body too far. When studying, remember it’s essential to take a short stretch break and move around every 20-30mins.

If these aches and pains are constant, it’s time for a longer break.

7. You feel exhausted ALL the time.

Whether you’re getting plenty of sleep or not enough – you feel tired. All. The. Time.

Disruptions to a healthy sleeping routine can indicate a brain running on overdrive. Listen to what your body tells you and find ways to decompress properly. Try mindfulness, light exercise and calming activities to help re-energise and reset.

Find Your Balance

There’s no ‘perfect’ study schedule or routine to stick to, just the one that feels right for you. A balanced routine incorporates:

  • Realistic study/work blocks.
  • Rest time.
  • Physical activity.
  • Plenty of fresh water and brain-boosting snacks.
  • Time spent away from your desk with friends.
  • Time just for you.

Try to add a little bit of each into your weekdays, and you’ll be well on the way to ultimate motivation and productivity – and steer well away from burnout!

Want more life tips and hacks? Our ‘Student Life’ category on the blog covers everything from money management, stress management and living the life you want.

Check it out now, and let us know if there’s anything else you’d like us to cover!


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