Pump the Breaks!


Dear Moose,

It’s Dean’s Date and finals season, and you may be feeling the pinch of multiple important deadlines. Perhaps you’re tempted to power through with less sleep and extra-long study sessions. But your health, energy level, and mood may take a hit. Is it worth it? Ultimately, the choice is yours. This week I ask you to consider a different path toward the academic finish line. I want to share two proven strategies for taking care of yourself that can sometimes be dismissed or overlooked: staying hydrated and taking breaks. Drinking no or low sugar drinks as well as stopping to take some well-timed breaks will keep you feeling your best.

A large body of research and my own experience as your Director of Student Life demonstrates that taking good care of yourself, including enjoying periodic study breaks and staying hydrated, will actually help you feel and do your best. Bored of water? Give it some flavor. I personally enjoy a squeeze of citrus. If you like your beverages cold, go ahead and add plenty of ice. Maybe you like fizz, so go ahead and opt for seltzer. The takeaway here is: honor your beverage preferences! I have learned over the years that I am much more likely to stay hydrated when my drink is prepared the way I like it best. There are so many upsides to keeping up with hydration. Besides improvements in digestion and complexion, you can also rely on proper hydration to help you feel energized and alert.

Psst, I have another hydration hack to share...You can keep up with your fluids by eating food with a high water content. Cucumbers, watermelon, and celery are all 95% water by weight.

Wondering how to do it? You’re not alone in figuring this out! Join me and the rest of the herd in a variety of physically and mentally restorative study breaks.

Here’s a schedule of what we have in store for you this week: https://www.matheycollege.live

Besides these scheduled events, there are many other ways in which you might relax or unwind. I suggest you disengage from your computer and social media for a short stretch and consider these ideas:

  • Take a power nap. Daytime dozing for 5-30 minutes has been shown to improve alertness and cognitive performance.

  • Move your body with some form of exercise (attend a virtual class at Dillon or go for a short walk)

  • Do a brief guided meditation in a comfortable place away from your work if possible: https://www.matheycollege.live/blog.

If you’re new to affording yourself the option of taking regular breaks during academic crunch time, I invite you to get curious about the experience. As you test out a variety of methods to help yourself unwind, you will likely find some activities are more effective than others. And, keep in mind, everyone is different, so what’s good for your friend/peer may not work as well for you.

Remember, there’s a huge bonus to experimenting with taking breaks this week: you will be so much better prepared for your upcoming finals!

Thinking of you,

Dr. Cepin