Chicken Soup for the Mind

Things to take your mind off on

It’s 3 A.m. in the morning. You’re sitting at home completing the last assignment of the day. You have to be at school tommmorrow sharp at 7. But if you don’t complete this assignment you’re going to be left behind in the class. So you labour on.

This is the reality of today’s higher secondary education in India. Beating competetions has become nigh impossible for a candidate of a general criteria not risking serious brain burnout. It is clear to us in the modern world that things decay. They lose entropy (Second law of thermodynamics for you geeks out there). We humans go through this too.

If we push ourselves beyond our limits in reaching for goals we risk severe damages to our body. Insomnia, hindered vision, yoyo-ing temperatures, and fatigue are some of the harms we risk if we continue on the schedule set by our institutes.

It is scientifically proved that human brain can concentrate on one thing only for 40-45 minutes. Anything after that without a break is considered wasted knowledge.

What you need is a break.

So here are a few ways you can mend your mind so that you can go on those long sessions and cope with your own competetive enviornment

Schedule short breaks into your existing study schedule. Take one 15-minute break every 50 to 90 minutes to rest and recharge your mind. 

  • Exact results can vary from person to person. Some people doing best if they break every 50 minutes and others being able to go for about 90 minutes before crashing. Experiment with amounts of time within this range to find what works best for you.
  • The length of your break may also vary slightly from person to person, but 15 minutes is usually a good place to start. Avoid breaks that are less than 10 minutes long or longer than 25 minutes.

Stick to your break schedule. You may need to experiment at first to determine how often and how long your breaks should be, but once you set a break schedule for yourself, it’s important that you stick with it. Study only until you find a natural stopping point. Take your break then.

  • If you’re reading through a textbook, stop once you reach the bottom of the page you’re on.
  • Postponing the break may mean working past your brain’s ability to concentrate, or worse, inadvertently skipping it altogether.

Consider shifting gears after your break. While not a necessity, you might find it beneficial to change subjects or assignments after each break to further stimulate different brain pathways. Plan out your study schedule to accommodate this in advance. You can also change gears as needed whenever your 15-minute break isn’t enough to clear away the brain fog from your last assignment.

  • For example, if you were studying chemistry before your break, you might switch to physics after your break.

Exercise outdoors. Fresh outdoor air helps clear your mind, while exercise promotes blood flow and makes you feel more energetic. Go for a brief walk, do sets of push-ups or jumping jacks, or engage in your favorite sport or physical activity.

Tidy and clean up your study area. Clutter such as loose papers, coffee mugs, and trash can be distracting, and prevent you from being able to fully focus and relax while studying. Take advantage of break time to throw away trash and remove items you don’t need from your desk.

Have a conversation with someone. Talking with someone in person or over the phone helps break up the monotony of quiet studying, and distracts you from your studies when you need a break.

Snack on healthy foods. Healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that give your brain and body the nourishment it needs to refuel so you can get back to studying.

Practice meditation and deep breathing. These exercises naturally help you feel calm and relaxed, and are effective at refreshing your brain so it can absorb more information.

Read something relaxing. Read an enjoyable book, magazine, or other content unrelated to your studies. This helps refocus your brain on another topic so you can return to your studies later on with a fresh perspective.

Listen to your favorite music.

Take a shower. Showering refreshes and invigorates your body and mind, and helps you feel more calm and relaxed. If you feel frustrated or tired, take a quick shower to reset your brain.


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