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Writer: Kalyana Sidra Wardhana | Illustrator: Ariyani Nuraini | Editor: Athaya Thahirah Hardono | Photographer: Andrew Ariel Darwin

APU’S newly updated timetable has left us students with only 10 minutes of break time, with the exception of the break after the second period (which is supposedly intended to let us have an extra 5 minutes for lunch). Whether you’re attending classes online or offline, after 100 straight minutes of sitting at your desk and mostly staring at the glaring screen of your devices, a little break for your body – especially your eyes, and your mind is much needed. So, how best to spend the short time span between classes? Read along!

Recharge your body!

A 10-minute break may not be ample time to cook a whole meal if you’re attending online class, but it sure is enough to make sure your body gets the fuel it needs power through! Quick caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea, make the perfect candidate for a pick-me-up. Thankfully, vending machines are available anywhere on campus and if you’re at home, instant drinks take about 5 minutes if you count boiling the water. Likewise, make sure you also refill your bottle of water and put it nearby during class as it’s been proven to increase concentration.

For at-home snacks, the crowd-favourite cereal and milk rarely misses the target with its healthy nutritions and quick preparation! (Psst, add a single banana when you’re super hungry.) Cup noodles work well too, and you can kill two birds with one stone if you’re already boiling some water for your drink! A little warning, 10 minutes may not be enough time to go all the way to the Co-op so prepare some snacks, such as energy bars or bread, beforehand if you’re attending class offline.

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Clear your mind-fog

Your brain can either be your most powerful ally, or your worst enemy – depending on how you treat it. What best way to be kind to our brains but to meditate? If you’re a newbie, don’t worry – Netflix’s Headspace Guide to Meditation offers a simple way to start meditating. FYI, for offline attendees, you don’t actually have to get into yoga positions in the middle of class to clear your mind – unless you want to. Hey, no judgment given here.

Here’s a little tip from APUINA to get you settled: set an alarm, relax into any position you want, close your eyes, and slow your breathing. There are a lot of methods online for breathing techniques but perhaps the best one to remember is 4-7-8 technique, which is said to be a natural tranquilizer for anxiety. Start with taking a breath with nose into your stomach for 4 counts, then holding it for 7 counts, and finally releasing it through your lips for 8 counts. Repeat this for as long as you need. If staying still isn’t your cup of tea, then stretching is the way to go as you lightly exercise your body while slowing your breaths with each movement. Stretch your neck, shoulders, and back as those points are the ones most affected by sitting for a long period of time. Plus, when you stretch, it actually decreases sleepiness!

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Dance away your worries

When all is lost and you need to blow off some steam, music is your best friend. For online attendees, let your eyes take a break from screens, blare out your favourite tunes, and set your body free. Dancing induces numerous health benefits such as increased balance and prolonged heart-lung endurance. Additionally, although we acknowledge that this might not be right fit for offline attendees, there is still the classic option of bobbing your head to the beat because the best part of dancing is getting to take your mind off stressful and/or monotonous things! Slight note: please don’t forget to bring your headphones if you’re planning on doing this at campus.

On top of body-related benefits, dancing can actually do wonders for your state of mind as well because when you’re dancing, your mind can only focus on moving to the beat and making you feel good. Plus, did you know that by practicing certain movements over and over (I see you, TikTok enthusiasts), dancing can actually help sharpen your memory? Perhaps, making a TikTok video during the break isn't such a bad idea after all, eh? For music recommendations, don’t forget to check out our Spotify playlists listed under the username APU INA!

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In the midst of attending classes, 10 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time for yourself. Of course, striking the balance between our health and academic life isn’t as easy as it sounds – to ignore our rumbling stomachs or dry throats simply due to the lack of time seems to be the current trend for our break time nowadays. Especially if you have back-to-back classes for more than 2 periods, then you’re gonna be stretching your mind and body really thin! But we must all remember that with the pandemic still going on, taking care of ourselves needs to be our number 1 priority. Disregarding our health just isn’t an option right now as it could do harm to others as well. So, wherever you're attending class from, here’s your reminder to take it nice and easy.

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