No matter where you are in the college search process, whether just starting your list or polishing those applications, you need to be taking breaks. This includes breaks from studying for the SAT or ACT, scholarship applications, and your junior or senior year work. While you have a lot to get done, you also need to take care of you! Don’t get burnt out. Here are four reasons breaks are important.
Reason 1: Breaks Reduce Stress
You have a long (and possibly growing) to-do list. Taking a break may not feel possible. But failing to take that break could increase your stress levels. By taking even short breaks, for a few minutes or enough time to eat a snack, you can increase your energy, reduce exhaustion, and lower your anxiety levels. You’ll also be able to recover a bit faster in the evening, making it easier to fall asleep.
Reason 2: Breaks Prevent Decision Fatigue
Have you ever found when, especially under stress and having had made several decisions earlier in the day, that you have a hard time choosing which path to take? This is often referred to as decision fatigue. Too much work can make it a bit difficult to make choices later on in the day and could lead to procrastination.
Reason 3: Breaks Increase Productivity
One of the biggest benefits of taking breaks during your college search is the increase in productivity they bring. A decrease in stress and decision fatigue of course increases productivity, but you’ll also see more motivation as a result. You’ll find it easier to focus on your goals, short and long-term, and you’ll see an increase in your mental resources.
Breaks can also assist with your creativity levels!
Reason 4: Breaks Help with Learning
While you may hear a lot about high school and college students “cramming” for a test, this is actually not at all helpful. Staying up night to finish work or study actually has the opposite effect that many believe it does. And studying the night of the SAT or ACT won’t help at all – they’re both tests that need to be prepared for over a length of time. Getting some rest and relaxation time will actually make it easier to retain those memories of what you studied, too!
How Can You Take Breaks?
How you take your break is up to you! It could be a nap, you could take a walk, or you may want to read a fiction novel. The important thing though is to schedule them into your day. You may have plans to get home from school, finish homework, study for the SAT, work on scholarship applications, eat dinner, and go to bed, but aside from dinner – when is the time for you?
Even if it’s only 30 minutes, the time you set aside for breaks can be a game-changer for your entire college search and prep experience.