It’s no secret that study breaks are a vital part of any successful studying regiment. Knowing how to spend these study breaks, however, may be less apparent than knowing that you should have study breaks in the first place. Study breaks lose their effectiveness if they are spent in a way that detracts from your studying rather than adds to it. To maximize your study breaks, try the following suggestions.

Whatever you do, don’t go on your phone and avoid any form of social media at all costs. Though social media platforms will certainly take your mind off of studying, visiting them will almost certainly lead to endless scrolling and an inescapable cycle of clicking from distracting link to distracting link.

To avoid this fate, keep your phone out of reach, out of sight, and out of mind, and opt for another activity instead. If the weather permits, you could go on a short walk around your neighborhood, which would both stretch your cramping limbs and clear your mind. If the outside seems too formidable, you could stay inside and stretch, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, attempt some yoga (which, if you’re a beginner, I would suggest doing by following along to an instructional video).

Keep your brain active and alert by fueling it with snacks! Research suggests that fruits, veggies, nuts, yogurt, and dark chocolate are the way to go.

Try to avoid watching Youtube videos or choosing this moment to start a T.V. show. Once you have started a new show, you will inevitably be able to convince yourself that you have time for just one more episode, until it’s 3a.m., you’re on the fourth season, and the material you were studying has been long forgotten.

Explore your creativity. Relax your brain by enjoying an artistic pursuit of your choosing, whether it be drawing, knitting, or finally starting that ceramics project you’ve been thinking about. Remember, the point of this artistic exercise is to relax, so don’t worry about perfection - not every work you create will end up in the Louvre.

Set a timer for your study breaks. Though putting a time limit on your breaks may make them feel less organic, it will force you to return to your studying, which is after all the point of a study break - to go back to studying. The length of your study break depends on how long you plan on studying and how many breaks you plan on taking. If you are studying for an extended period of time, I would suggest taking several short breaks (no longer than five minutes) for snacks and other basic necessities and a longer break in the middle (perhaps 20 to 30 minutes) during which you can explore your physical or creative options.

If you keep these suggestions in mind, you will ideally be able to partake in a studying experience that will exercise not only your brain, but your body and creativity as well.