Sharp graphite tips scrape up and down, back and forth, a student attempts to finish that last assignment as the night grows deeper and deeper and her hands cramp from the constant tension of her intense grip on the moving pencil. “This homework has to be finished. I can’t go to bed until it is done,” she tells herself.
Whenever I begin to feel drowsy or unfocused while working, I like to put on some sing-along music, stand up and move around, a short break that can be very effective.
According to a 2012 New York Times article, working for long periods of time without moving around, standing up, or stretching does not only negatively impact productivity, but has also proven to be detrimental to physical health.
Turning in your homework late once or twice will not make your teacher hate you, nor will it drastically affect your grade. If you need to take a break or go to bed, you should.
You must sleep to be able to actively participate the following day, to feel awake and present, to prevent sickness, and more.
In addition, if you have a huge assignment due and multiple tests due on one day, do not be afraid to ask for an extension.
Many teachers are willing to offer you one if necessary, and the worst answer they could give you is “no.”
This is not to say that you should not do your work or ask for extensions just because you don’t want to study for a test or do your work. But if you are extremely overwhelmed and cannot complete your work without jeopardizing your mental or physical health, take a break.
Also, if you do have a day with fewer obligations or homework, don’t feel like you need to use your extra time to get ahead for the week.
Relaxing for one afternoon and just enjoying some stress-free time for yourself should not make you feel guilty.
Taking breaks have their own positive outcomes that should not be ignored or considered less important than schoolwork, sports or extracurriculars. Just because you are not working does not mean you are being unproductive.
Even the concept of a “mental health day,” where you do no work for an entire day, should not be cast aside. Although it may seem impossible to accommodate one into your schedule, an entire day with no stress or worries could help you to relieve yourself of stress and return to work with more focus and productivity.
After finishing your AP Tests, CAASPP testing, SAT and ACT, I-Search and whatever else you’ve been working diligently on, take a break. You’ve earned it.