As a university student, I’ve always felt pressured to be constantly working on my assignments or studying for future tests. Free time? How about I catch up on last week’s readings? And don’t forget to revise your lecture notes!
And the moment I felt like taking a break, I’d feel guilty because time is scarce and precious… I should be productive at all times.
Does that sound a lot like you too?
While I’ve written about the importance of taking a break and taking care of yourself before, today, I want to introduce the concept of ‘healthy distractions‘. When you stray away from the work at hand, you get distracted. When you can’t focus on your assignment or when you are tired of studying, you indulge in distractions.
The word ‘distraction’ is often perceived as being ‘bad’ for you. Distractions on top of your head may comprise scrolling through your social media, eating unhealthy snacks, or playing mindless games on your phone.
But some distractions are not as detrimental to your work or ‘brain power’ as what people think. In fact, the right type of distractions allows you to come back to your work refreshed and energized.
For instance, there’s no harm in playing puzzle, memory or strategy games. A good game of chess can improve your thinking skills. That’s what I mean by healthy distractions.
Here are my 8 favourite ones as a university student.
1. Read a book that is unrelated to your work.
When was the last time you picked up a book you’ve wanted to read for fun? Whenever I didn’t feel like doing my scholarly readings, I’d take out a fiction book and read that instead. Yes, the irony: reading as a means to procrastinate reading. But it improves your linguistic skills!
Yes, blogging is a great way to practice your writing skills for fun. Or write in your journal. Write a story. Write anything but your essay. Who knows, you may get back to work inspired!
3. Do yoga or other forms of exercise.
Go for a walk. Or a run. And bring your friends. Do some stretching. Do Pilates or head to the gym. Find your poison. Yes, working out makes you feel energised. You’ll feel pumped up and ready to get back to work!
4. Meditate and do nothing.
I won’t tell you how to meditate—there are thousands of meditation apps out there—but a lot of it comes down to focusing on your breathing. Give yourself five minutes and do nothing but focus on what’s around you. What can you hear? Smell? See? Let your thoughts run through your mind but don’t pay attention any of them. Just do nothing. Believe me, it helps.
5. Get creative!
You know about adult colouring books, right? Colouring, painting, drawing… it’s amazing how those activities can be so relaxing. Perfect for the busy minds, like every university student ever. Being creative doesn’t mean being perfect. Consider it an outlet. Expel your anxieties onto paper with colours of your choice.
6. Clean your room/desk or do the laundry.
Doing some cleaning is one of the most common ways to procrastinate, but we have to admit it is productive. Besides, after you’re done, you’ll have a better environment to work in. Seeing things organised around you can motivate you to work harder. That’s why we love going to pretty coffee shops to study 😉
7. Take a shower.
8. Pick up your instrument or listen to songs that motivate you.
If you have a musical hobby, by all means, take out your baby and start playing a few tunes. It’s a great way to relax and work your brain at the same time. But if you don’t know how to play any instrument, listening to songs that usually pumps you up also helps! Feel free to sing at the top of your lungs too to release stress, unless you’re in the library.
And that’s it! I hope this list helps you get back to work rejuvenated. Stop feeling guilty about taking a break. There are such things as healthy distractions.
D. K. Waye.
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