Becoming a student on top of your already busy life can be wonderful, rewarding, and yes, sometimes stressful. This is especially true for those taking online courses and have to rely on high levels of self-discipline to stay on top of assignments. When things get busy and demanding, you need a way to reward yourself for your hard work and perseverance and give yourself a break both mentally and physically from everything you’ve got going on. Taking time to reward yourself has many benefits from relaxation, to motivation, to giving you renewed energy to tackle your next challenge.
Below are some inexpensive ways to reward yourself for all that you do!
Take a Mini-break
Whether it’s giving yourself the treat of an at home “spa day” while working on coursework or taking time to enjoy a hobby you love as a break in between studying, there are many ways to inexpensively reward yourself.
While taking a break is great for productivity, you may want to avoid social media or the internet. Both can quickly drag you into a digital rabbit hole and you’ll likely find yourself less relaxed or rewarded. Spend your time in analog or hands-on activities that keep you grounded and offer time away from your computer and textbook.
Here are some great hands-on ideas:
- Love to read?
Take a break from studying with your favorite book. Your local library has a wide selection of free audio books that you can download to your phone or other device. Listening to your favorite read will give your eyes a much needed rest!
- Does music pump you up?
Rock out to your favorite upbeat song. Spotify is half price for students!
- Is exercise or the outdoors your boost?
Take a walk around your neighborhood, through the woods, or drop in at your local gym. The extra oxygen, increased heart rate, and time to think will inspire you. Check local gyms to find out if they offer student discounts and then take advantage!
- Need to de-stress?
Meditate quietly for a few minutes, allowing your thoughts to pass through your mind without distraction or judgement. A free meditation app can help you get in the zone. Try Calm, Inscape, Stop, Breathe & Think, Insight Timer, or Omvana.
- Love games?
A few minutes of Sudoku, Solitare or a crossword puzzle uses your mind in a different way and is a great way to both unwind and re-energize. Plus puzzle books are cheap and doing something analog rather than digital can be great for your brain.
- Is doodling your thing?
Take a few minutes to draw, letting your mind rest and turn to something new that is visual and tactile rather than text or a computer screen. Pick up some inexpensive supplies like a drawing pad or coloring book and you’ll soon unwind.
- Need to relax?
Take a few minutes to apply that mud mask you’ve been meaning to use, soak your feet in a warm bath, apply a hot towel to your eyes, or paint your nails, anything that makes you feel good and helps you relax. Your study-break-spa doesn’t have to be expensive! There are tons of DIY spa product ideas online. Find something that’s easy and works within your budget.
- Love to write?
Find some online writing prompts to have on hand for when you need to unwind. Save them in your journal for use when you need a break. Writer’s Digest has hundreds of fun writing prompts to get you started.
- Do your pets give you energy?
Take a walk with your dog or play with your cat to boost your spirits.
- Just focused hard for 30 minutes editing a paper or writing a really great forum post?
Reward yourself with a little ice cream or other sweet treat.
- Finished all your reading for the week?
Why not watch a 30 minute comedy show or listen to a podcast before jumping back in.
Setting up a schedule of rewards ahead of time can give you something to look forward to each time you have to sit down and work hard. Keep a list of the little mini-breaks that inspire you, help you relax, or motivate you. Then turn to that list when you’re getting bogged down in your coursework. Switching up your breaks can also help stimulate your study periods.
Give a Gift Certificate
It may seem silly but buying yourself a gift certificate to use when you’ve accomplished something great can be a fun way to reward yourself through allocating a small amount of money to something you love to do.
- Love to shop?
A gift certificate to your favorite store would certainly be welcome when you’ve finished that big paper.
- Love to eat?
How about a certificate to your favorite restaurant when you’ve pulled in an A in a difficult course? Putting your gift certificate in a congratulations card to be opened at a future date will add a little fun and motivation to your studies.
Switch it Up!
Need to get a lot of different things done in your day? Switch it up! Spend 30 minutes studying, then spend 15 loading the dishwasher, or doing laundry. Switching back and forth between tasks can keep you on track longer and help you get more done in a day. But be sure to include some relaxing or rewarding activities or you’ll soon find yourself burnt out.
Rewarding yourself is important! With so much going on in your life a little self-care can go a long way toward keeping you on track. Luckily, self-care doesn’t have to be expensive! With a little creativity and forethought you’ll soon have a study and rewards system that motivates you!