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Study Breaks

Check out this awesome guide to help you figure out what's what during Study Breaks! Study Breaks are put together by the Bellack Library, OSAS, and Campus Services at the end of each semester.

Virtual Study Breaks Spring 2021

Hard to believe it's been a year since we were all "sent home" for the pandemic. Your health and safety is still our top priority and--since you all loved Virtual Study Breaks so much--we are keeping Study Breaks virtual for Spring 2021. Similar to the previous winter and spring 2020 semesters, we have updated our resources on self-care and created new virtual events the final month of the semester. Our compilation of self-care information, study tips, and more on this page will help you thrive through the rest of the semester. 

We will have more activities coming your way over the next few weeks. Keep watching this space and follow @ihpstudentlife and @BellackLibrary for the latest developments.

Here are the activities and events so far:

Dealing With Zoom Fatigue

 

 

Why Zoom Fatigue Happens 

Over the past 8 months, students and working professionals have needed to adjust from their on-the-go lifestyles to working virtually. This meant working, living, and breathing on Zoom 8+ hours per day with minimal breaks in between. What was once a novel and exciting app soon became the main source of fatigue for people learning and working virtually. 

Zoom fatigue is real. This term has been defined as the "tiredness, worry, or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication." In virtual meetings, we lack the non-verbal cues that would normally facilitate communication in real life. Additionally, being reduced to a little box on a screen can make us hyperaware of every sound and move you make. In combination with the extra effort needed to interpret the other side of the screen, Zoom meetings require us to process more information than our brains are used to doing. 

Nevertheless, online learning is the only alternative to continue our academic track while staying healthy and safe during a pandemic. Below are tips for dealing with Zoom fatigue as we continue to adjust to this virtual environment.

1. Limit unnecessary screentime.

Although your class schedule can dictate when you are online, try to avoid using your phone or watching TV during breaks. Catching up on social media or your latest show can be a stress relief, but too much screentime can worsen your Zoom fatigue. Check out our "Overcoming Procrastination" page on this guide for apps to reduce screentime. 

2. Avoid multitasking

Since everything can now be accessed at the touch of your computer screen, it can be easy to fall into the trap of listening to a Zoom lecture, checking your email, responding to text messages, online shopping, and working on your next assignment all at once. However, switching between these tasks has been found to take away 40 percent of your productivity. Multitasking does not work. Try your best to focus on the task at hand so that you do not fall behind! 

3. Set healthy boundaries.

Not everything has to be done over Zoom! Zoom has been the primary meeting platform for virtual gatherings. However, if possible, try to schedule meetings through other platforms, such as audio calls or email. Oftentimes, a phone call can get the job done in the same way that a Zoom video call would. 

4. Establish a virtual work space.

Libby Sander presented in her TedTalk (above) the value of finding a work space that matches with your productivity needs. Make sure that your working from home environment ensures a comfortably productive space to learn. If you are limited by space, check out this resource for tips and tricks on maximizing your home/work environment. 

5. Schedule specific times for breaks

To prevent overbooking your schedule with Zoom meetings, try to set designated times (e.g., 30- or 60-minute windows, or even a full day each week) as "no meeting" time blocks. Take advantage of these breaks by going on a walk, grabbing a snack, or partaking in your current hobby to limit screentime and avoid further strain on your eyes. If you need some ideas on how to schedule breaks, check out the 20-20-20 or the Pomodoro Technique

For more tips on combatting Zoom fatigue, check out these resources:

Home Study Routine Tips

Taking online classes at home can be a challenge compared to learning in the classroom environment. Here are 5 tips on how to create a sustainable home study routine!

1. Make a schedule

Morning/Night routine schedule
 

Rather than staying home and doing your work every now and then throughout the day, scheduling your classes, designated study times, and assignment due dates can hold you accountable for completing your schoolwork. You can click the picture above for a schedule template to help you structure your day! Being at home all day can also make it difficult to stay active. Make sure to schedule break times to stretch, do some light exercise, or take a walk outside. 

2. Create a study space

how to create a study space

 

Many people find it easier to study in a coffee shop or library than at home. If you have no choice but to study at home, try to set up a designated study area that mimics your ideal learning environment. For example, if you like to study with the sound of background noise in a coffee shop, the website Coffitivity provides ambient sounds of a cafe to help boost your productivity. Click the picture above for a guide on how to create a great study space in your room! 

3. Don't study in bed

studying/sleeping in bed


Doing work in bed can easily lead you to snooze off or watch another TV show on your laptop. This can disrupt your work productivity, as well as decrease your quality of sleep. Avoid this lose-lose scenario by studying in a designated space and using your bed for sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene by limiting your exposure to blue light on your laptop or phone screen one hour before going to bed! 

4. Wear work clothes at home


One appeal of switching to online learning is being able to wear pajamas at home during school. However, research shows that the symbolic meaning of getting dressed for work, even when working from home, can improve your productivity. If this suggestion does not excite you, try to at least change out of your pajamas every morning before beginning your virtual school day. 

5. Maintain a balanced diet and drink water

reusable grocery bags with food


Staying at home and studying all day can oftentimes make you forget about maintaining a healthy diet. Drinking water and eating enough fruits and vegetables can naturally energize you and help make you feel loss groggy from staying inside the house. If you are quarantined at home and cannot go to the grocery store to buy healthy foods, click the picture above for a guide on how to plan meals. 

 

 

Virtual Study Groups

Do you miss studying in groups? Make your study group virtual! Here are our suggestions for taking your study group online.

 

Schedule Your Study Sessions

First, use one of these collaborative scheduling tools to find a time when everyone can meet.

Use a Whiteboard

No doubt you're missing the Bellack Library's Whiteboards, too. We get it! If the built in whiteboard in Zoom isn't meeting your needs, here are several more virtual whiteboards you can try out. All platforms have free starter accounts, with options to upgrade to premium accounts for a small fee.

Make it Work

To wrap up, here are links to tips for making your virtual study group successful and for working on group projects online.

Keeping Calm

These free meditation and relaxation resources can help you relieve your stress during difficult times. Calm your mind with a deep breath, art exercise, or a walk outside. Use these resources listed below as a guide to navigate your inner self.

 

hand holding barbell of heart and brain

Stress Management Resources

 

watercolor painting of woman meditating on mountain

Creating Art at Home

Creative activities like writing and drawing can boost energy, clear your mind and boost your mood -- even if you aren't artistic. Sure, it may seem juvenile to color but, if it works, why not? 

Don't believe us? Here are some articles to back it up:

  • How to Relieve Stress with Art Therapy
    • "A great way to use the act of drawing for stress relief is to maintain a sketch diary. Keeping a sketchbook can be a form of journaling, and it can be cathartic, creative, and stress relieving." 
  • Draw your Stress Out
    • "Wondering how to calm down in the midst of overwhelming deadlines? Grab a pencil. The rhythmic and repetitive motion of drawing helps synchronize hand and eye, body and mind, and can be used to elicit what Harvard cardiologist, Herbert Benson, has identified as the relaxation response."

  • Writing Therapy: Using a Pen and Paper to Enhance Personal Growth

    • "Writing therapy is a low-cost, easily accessible, and versatile form of therapy. It can be done individually, with just a person and his pen, or it can be guided by a mental health professional. ... Whatever format is chosen, writing therapy can help the user to propel their personal growth, practice creative expression, and feel a sense of empowerment and control over the user’s life."

 

cartoon of woman meditating

Meditation and Mindfulness Websites and Videos 

 

person meditating in mountains by water

Meditation and Mindfulness Mobile Apps

 

woman doing yoga on the beach

Yoga

 

"Positivity. The practice of accepting the world as it is."

Social Media Accounts for Positivity

Eating Well

Your diet is a reflection of your health. During stressful times, it can be easy to overlook your nutrition, especially if you can't leave your house. Check out these tips and recipes for maintaining a healthy diet while studying from home. (P.S. - Don't forget to drink water!)

 

Healthy Eating Recipes and Tips During Social Isolation

 

Healthy Snack Recipes

If you have these ingredients at home or are able to take a quick trip to the grocery store, these recipes make delicious AND healthy studying snacks! 

   Pumpkin pie energy bites

   Ingredients:

   • Pumpkin puree
   • Almond butter

   • Vanilla extract
   • Cinnamon
   • S
alt
   • Quinoa flake

   • Quick cooking oats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cashew almond snack bars

Ingredients:

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Dried blueberries
  • Almond meal
  • Flaxseed
  • Salt
  • Vanilla beans
  • Brown rice syrup 

 

 

 

 

 

   Banana chips
   Ingredients
:
    • Bananas
    • Lemon juice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark chocolate detox bites
Ingredients:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Assorted dried fruits, nuts, and seeds

Free Online Activities

Bored from staying inside the house all day? These free online tours, activities, and books can help you occupy your time. Enjoy the arts, nature, music, entertainment, books, and more, all in the comfort of your home! 

 

 

Channel Islands National Park

Virtual Tours

 
Disney World
Virtual Activities  

 

Online Books