Do you really know how to switch off? How to really rest and take a break from your studies.

PUBLISHED18 October 2021

During prolonged periods of study there often comes a time when you just need a break and down your pens and papers (and your devices!) and get some rest – physically and mentally – so that you are fired up and ready to renew your studies. Negotiating this period blindly isn’t something we recommend, you need to plan for it and we’ve compiled a few tips to help you take advantage of your down time and get some proper rest, both for your body and for your mind.

1] Give yourself time to wind down. Often, at the start of a break or holiday, we feel a bit anxious – this anxiety stems from the fact that change, any sort of change, tends to be stressful. Getting used to the switch between school-mode and break-mode may make us feel anxious, but if we give it a few days, this anxiety will subside and we will be able to ride into the holidays with a good mindset.

2] Try to limit your screen time. Many studies have shown that much of our stress, and even depression, stems from spending too much time on the computer, on our mobile phones, watching TV or movies. While watching a movie might seem like a nice, leisurely activity, if we are binge-watching TV series, well, that is a different story. We believe that social media makes us feel more connected to other people while in fact it is doing the opposite – disconnecting us from the real world right in front of us. Be mindful of this and practice being in the moment and you’ll find that the moment, the present, is all you really need.

3] It’s easy enough to unplug our electrics, but how do we unplug our minds? If you find it difficult to shut off thoughts of work, study, or other stresses in your life, while you are trying to enjoy the downtime of the holidays, try a few one-minute mindfulness exercises to help get you out of your head and back in the present moment. You could spend one minute paying attention to something relaxing – e.g. the movement of the trees outside your window. Or you could try one minute of mindful breathing – breathe in for three seconds, breathe out for three seconds, for a total of ten breaths in one minute, or even slower if you can manage.  A great website a colleague of ours recommended?…http://www.calm.com which featured a variety of free and subscription based meditation exercises the likes of which we found very effective.

4] Remember to take care of your physical body as well – exercise promotes healthy living and healthy rest and will likely make it easier for you to fall asleep at night to give your mind rest if you’ve been exercising that day. Ensure that you exercise earlier in the day rather than later, as if you exercise later on, your body will feel energised and you may then have some trouble falling asleep. Your environment affects your sleeping habits so make sure you sleep in a cool room that is dark, quiet and peaceful. Many people tend to watch tv, eat or read in bed but these are actually detrimental to a good night’s sleep, as your body then gets used to doing these activities in bed, rather than sleeping. Take those activities into a different room and you’ll be able to adjust your body system and get a better night’s rest.

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