Healthy Distractions

The past week and a half has been a blur of PDFs, Google Docs, and footnotes. It's essay writing time for many of us here at the University of Edinburgh, and I'm sure many of you are even thinking about exams already. One of the hardest parts for me when I'm trying to write or study, is staring at my laptop screen for too long, or being far too distracted the entire time I'm trying to be productive.

Sometimes, you just need a little bit of a diversion to get yourself back on track when you're spending hours upon hours on schoolwork. Here are four of my most tried-and-true methods for healthy distraction: 

Making tea - or coffee, or hot chocolate- is the perfect way to get yourself out of your chair when you have writer's block. For me, it forces me to leave my room and go across the hall to the pantry. There's nothing like the feeling of a warm drink in your hand to make you feel like you can conquer the world (or at least that essay). When you return, you can sip your drink while you write. 

Tea-time essentials.

Tidying up a bit or even doing laundry can easily get you out of your rut. It's productive, but also a way of procrastinating just a bit. While deep cleaning your entire room might be a bit much, taking the time to put away the clothes strewn all over the ground may be the productive ten minutes you need to get back into the swing of things. Laundry is a perfect little distraction for me since it takes about 40 minutes to wash, and 50 minutes to dry. That way, I can work for a chunk of time, go downstairs and move my clothes to the dryer, and then work for another chunk of time before bringing it back to my room. 

Painting my nails leads to instant relaxation. If you know me at all, you're probably aware that I used to be a serial nail-biter- "used to" being the operative phrase of course. I like pretty nail polish colors too much to bite my nails anymore. Sometimes, I'll take a break to do my nails because it's the best way to prevent any type of working or browsing of the internet. This way, I can just have a think about whatever my next task is (Pro-tip: go out and buy essie top coat right now. It will save you time and it practically guarantees a perfect manicure every time). 

Skyping a friend or family member that I haven't talked to in a while not only takes my mind off of working, but it almost always boosts my mood. Sometimes, I'll even use the opportunity to ask for advice on my essay (actually, this only applies to when I talk to my mom). Plus, we all know it's super important to keep in touch with friends from home while away at college. Just make sure it's not a marathon of Skype sessions or an hour long conversation.

The most important thing to remember when taking a study break is to set limits. Otherwise, you're not taking a study break- you're full-on procrastinating. Oh, and just be sure to avoid Netflix like the plague.        

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