The benefits of brain breaks
At a Glance: Schedule time during your study sessions to get up and move around, listen to music or breathe deeply — then get back to work.
You’ve probably noticed that the longer you sit trying to concentrate, the harder it can become. You find yourself reading the same sentence over and over, or reading an entire paragraph on autopilot and not retaining a thing. Your body can start to feel uncomfortable and achy, too.
Instead of spinning your mental wheels and making your body feel lousy, try taking a pause for a brain break.
When to take brain breaks
It’s a good idea to take a break right when your concentration begins to waver, likely every hour or hour-and-a-half.
Experiment with different ways to give your brain a break so that you have options to match your energy level and mood. Try these:
Find what works best for you, such as walking up and down the stairs or trying a few yoga poses. Settle into stretches to relieve the body parts feeling most strained from sitting. Do a headstand to really get the blood flowing. Borrow your child’s jump rope or hula-hoop to shake things up and have a little fun. Walk around the block. Try getting outside to do your movements so you get the added benefits of Vitamin D!
Songs have amazing mood-altering powers. Create playlists that align with various moods, times and activities. Label your playlists “Pump Up” or “Relaxation” to reinforce your goal. Experiment with various types of music to determine what gives you the most rejuvenating brain breaks.
Close your eyes and clear your mind. Fill your lungs with air and exhale fully, over and over again. Focus on the sounds and smells around you. If you need help keeping your mind from wandering back to a stressful task, try downloading a meditation app to guide you.
Even when you feel you don’t have time, taking a five- to 10-minute break can let your brain reset and process what you’ve been feeding it. A good brain break can get you back on track with fresh energy and better focus.