If you’re a high school student, I’m sure your brain has been working overtime on finals, AP exams, SAT/ACT preparation, or any number of other study-related activities, so let’s switch gears for a bit and discuss something fun: study breaks! If you want to stay sharp throughout your study sessions, it’s crucial to occasionally step away from your studies.

According to Robert Pozen, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, “Working for 75 to 90 minutes takes advantage of the brain’s two modes: learning or focusing and consolidation. When people do a task and then take a break for 15 minutes, they help their brain consolidate information and retain it better.” Of course, some study break activities are more beneficial than others, so let’s take a look at six fun and productive study break ideas!


1. Activate your body

When you study, you are probably in a seated position for an extended period of time. Study mode is a period of intense focus and concentration, so one of the simplest study break ideas is to get up and move your body. You could take a brief walk, put on some music and dance, or even do some light stretching. Anything that shakes off the stillness and gets your blood flowing is recommended. Ideally, you can turn off your mind temporarily and return to your studies reinvigorated to tackle the next round.


2. Meditate

Speaking of turning off your mind, meditation is an excellent way to spend your study break. Studying requires intense concentration; whereas meditation invites your mind to completely relax. Meditating can clear your head in a way that few other activities can. Once you return to your studies, you will be equipped with a newfound focus that will allow you to continue working with a sense of relaxation and ease. If you are uncertain about where to begin, there are plenty of guided meditations on YouTube. You can also find a number of apps on your phone, such as Headspace and Insight Timer.


3. Have a healthy snack or cook a quick meal

I briefly mentioned the importance of stocking up on healthy snacks in my article Creating A Great Study Space, and a great time to partake in those snacks is during your study breaks. Healthy snacks provide clean energy to keep you fueled and focused throughout your study sessions. Some of your options include fresh or dried fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, yogurt, string cheese, popcorn, and more! Alternatively, you could spend your study break whipping up a quick meal. Cooking is a fantastic way to take your mind off of your studies for a bit. Consider nutritious foods high in protein, including eggs, chicken, fish, oats and sweet potatoes. All of these foods can give you that extra boost to keep studying effectively and efficiently.


4. Laugh

Humor and laughter can add a much needed boost to the monotony of studying. In fact, by activating the brain’s dopamine reward system, humor can stimulate long-term memory. We all have a different sense of humor, so find whatever it may be that tickles your fancy. Perhaps you follow social media accounts that always make you laugh; feel free to pull one or two up for a few minutes. Watch a couple of clips of your favorite comedian or funny tv show. You could even call a friend who always manages to put a smile on your face. No matter how you decide to engage in humor or laughter, limit yourself to about 15 minutes so you can be sure to resume studying in time. 


5. Tidy Up

When you’re studying, it is easy to neglect other tasks that need your attention. You just want to get your work done and decide you’ll figure everything else out afterwards. Tidiness is often one of the sacrifices students make in these situations. However, using your study break time to clean up your space can give your brain a rest while still maintaining your productivity. We all know how easily a study space can get cluttered, so why not spruce things up for a few minutes? When you return to your studies, you will have peace of mind knowing that the space around you is neat and won’t require any additional work later when you’re more likely to be tired.


6. Quick Shower or Power Nap

Let’s face it, studying isn’t the most exciting activity in the world. At some point while studying, you’ve probably wanted to fall asleep or maybe you have fallen asleep—it’s not uncommon. However, sleeping when you should be studying can hinder your progress, and isn’t it much easier to get a good night’s sleep once you’ve completed all of your assignments? To combat sleep, you could take a shower to wake you up and make you feel refreshed and energized. I suggest alternating between hot and cold water, ending with 30 seconds of the coldest water you can withstand. Cold showers jumpstart your circulation and get the blood flowing, so they are an excellent way to give you that extra energy to complete your studies. Sometimes though you just need to listen to your body and rest. A 10-20 minute power nap can do wonders for your productivity, but be sure to set an alarm so you don’t fall asleep for hours.

There are a variety of ways to spend your study breaks, and I highly recommend trying as many of these ideas as possible until you find what works best for you. Avoid the common pitfalls of falling down a rabbit hole on your phone, computer or television screen. Start incorporating the information included here as well as any other productive study break ideas you may have to develop healthy learning habits. Before long, you will find yourself at peak performance throughout your study sessions!

Jon G. is originally from Houston, Texas. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Harvard University and is currently one of the resident English gurus at Elite Prep Los Angeles. Nothing makes him more proud and pumped up than watching his students succeed. When it comes to hitting the books, Jon recommends starting early and studying in increments to avoid burnout. He's a huge basketball fan, loves green tea, and his favorite vocabulary word is "seditious."

Related Article


Octobar 23,2021

As an educator who has been teaching at the college level for 15 years, I have long been…