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How to take breaks?

  1. May 10, 2012 #1
    I just had a really pressing semester, it was quite horrible actually. I still managed to get a good grade and now we're on break.

    Do I take a break or do I study? What I mean by break is that, I'm thinking of doing nothing related to physics or mathematics (academics) and loosen myself up for 2 days or so since I've kinda almost blown myself during that last semester. The problem is, I've become quite accustomed to the mindset that I should do something science or math related in a day, but I'm worried that it not be very productive since I'm a bit burned out. If I just sit around though, I get really uneasy as the thought of being unable to progress is haunting me.

    Seems like a really bad cycle of indecisiveness, I'm quite sure about my goals though. I wonder if anyone's experienced this?

    So for tl;dr:

    How to make the most out of breaks?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2012 #2


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    Do what you want to do. It's your break.
  4. May 11, 2012 #3
    I wonder what I'll do. I, and likely a bunch of other people on the boards, have a tough quarter right now (quarter here, so I'm still in school for another month). I find some artistic stuff relaxing, i.e. building some video game engine, visualizing boids performing strange behaviors, etc. I end up learning some things while do this on the weekends and have fun doing it, so I figure I'll be a bit more intensive and serious regarding this stuff (3D graphics, AI, just started throwing some control stuff I've been picking up).

    I'd recommend that you, after working or whatever it is you'll be doing on your break, look toward an utterly mindless form of entertainment for inspiration. You'll be studying again in no time (and you won't even notice).
  5. May 11, 2012 #4
    Yeah, I get that too.

    I think what's key is figuring out what you can do to "fill the holes" (i.e, something other than "work" (science) that can make you happy) while not completely breaking away from your work schedule. What works for me is immersing myself in another world.

    Maybe it's a book I'm reading or something I'm writing. Or a good video game or TV show. (Batman, Community, The Witcher EE (both games are great) or a Jeff Buckley album) That's just stuff you can do on your own. You could just hang out with your friends or talk to new people.

    If it bothers you that you aren't studying at all, keep an hour or two (you can break it into 30-minute chunks if you like!) for your studies. That's what I'll do.
  6. May 11, 2012 #5
    Really you have to do whatever it is that recharges you. For me, it was to get far away from my studies, and write music, go for bike rides, go to parties and take road trips with my friends, anything but study, really. If you try to fit study time into your breaks you are setting yourself for burnout, in my opinion. But for some people, it works. Only you can answer that question for yourself.
  7. May 11, 2012 #6


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    Science Advisor
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    If you've blow yourself out over the last semester, it's probably not a good idea to keep doing what it was that blew you out. Summer's almost here. Why not go hiking and camping for a few days? Climb a mountain. Unplug yourself.

    Physics will still be there when you get back. It won't have changed much.
  8. May 12, 2012 #7
    I guess I'll be taking this advice, I'll break my work into chunks until I get into a good pace for studying. Thanks guys.
  9. May 12, 2012 #8


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    I would add a couple of things:

    i) If you are studying a new topic, it is a good idea to review even a bit every single day, otherwise, it will be hard to get started and having to get the ball rolling after a few days.

    ii)Keep track of what works for you over time, and you may taylor a recovery method for yourself.

    Good Luck.
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