Take time out

Kelly Smith

Life can be very busy sometimes. For a college student, this is very obvious. We have homework, essays, exams, all that good stuff. For those of us with jobs, our work schedules add even more pressure to our days. And you know what? As I’m sure we’ve all been told at some point, it doesn’t get much better out in the real world. There have been many times throughout my college career when I’ve felt bogged down with all my responsibilities and found myself almost dreading the road ahead. For this reason, I feel it’s important to always take time away for yourself. 

It doesn’t really matter what you like to do, whether it’s engaging with others or enjoying some alone time. Sometimes taking a break can really be beneficial, even if it doesn’t feel like a good time. When I get stressed, I’ll go for a walk or drive while listening to music. As a musician, I love listening to music while allowing my mind to calmly wander and de-stress. Even if I’m not going anywhere in particular, it’s still great to just get out and unwind sometimes.

In fact, if you were to look up some standard studying tips, most, if not all, of them highly encourage taking breaks. When you’re staring at a book or computer screen for too long, it does weird things to your brain. I even remember times when I became so unfocused when trying to study that the words I was trying to read became blurry, almost as if I were struggling to stay awake. When that happens, you find that absolutely nothing you’re trying to focus on is sinking in. Your mind is quickly leaving or already gone. Maybe that’s why it’s called daydreaming because when your mind grows tired it needs time to “sleep” in order to recharge.

But isn’t this a bit obvious? Of course people need breaks every now and then. Everyone knows that, but that doesn’t mean people don’t forget. In fact, sometimes the most important things to remember in life are the easiest ones to forget during times of stress. When you’ve got two exams you’re not looking forward to and a 10-page essay you’ve only barely started all due within two days, using any of your precious time to go de-stress yourself might seem counter-productive. But it’s really not because stress can be a blinder and a source of “thinker’s” block, and the only way to get past this and be more productive in the long run is to go out and refresh your brain.

So what’s your biggest de-stressor? What helps you clear your mind when things get rough? Whatever it may be, it’s always good to take time out of our busy days and just reflect on the important things in life. I’m not saying that we should always be lost in our thoughts, but slowing down every once in awhile and giving some free thought to ourselves can really help us to better understand what’s going on in life.