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Take 10 Initiative: Give Yourself a Break!

Take 10 is an initiative created by the Wellness Advisory Board in order to encourage all members of the UChicago community to rest and connect with others.

Data from UChicago's Campus Health Needs Assessment identified mental health as a priority need among college and graduate students. To address this, the Wellness Advisory Board (WAB) created the Take 10 initiative with the aim to encourage rest and social connection in the midst of a busy and hectic schedule. Based on the Pomodoro technique, the Take 10 initiative seeks to create a space for relaxation and social interaction through pop-up events relating to the following themes: creativity, physical activity, gratitude, and engaging with others.

Research evidence supports psychologically detaching from heavy workloads to maintain mental well-being and life satisfaction and reduce the chance of burnout. This means that if you choose to take a break, but continue thinking about your upcoming tasks and mulling over your to-do list, you are not truly resting. A genuine break will produce comfort, tranquility, and stress relief. Research also reveals that taking short breaks when learning something new helps to change the brain and solidify memory. Therefore, relaxing while studying not only provides rest for your mind, but also makes your brain more efficient. 

Research on lack of social connection suggests that it may reduce cognitive ability, meaning that a lack of strong, positive relationships in your life may impede your ability to thrive and accomplish your goals.

These research studies, along with the results from the CHNA, support the presence and aims of the Take 10 initiative and provide a strong basis for addressing this need.

Unwinding is very subjective and can be done in a lot of ways. There are also various time limits you can incorporate when studying that work best for you! If you want to follow the Pomodoro technique, you can set a timer for 25 minutes, and when it goes off, you take a five minute break. Health Promotion and Wellness recommends ten minutes of rest for every hour of focused work. Here are some examples of regular breaks you can take on campus:

  • Take a walk around the beautiful UChicago campus, which was designated a botanic garden in 1997.
  • Visit a new fitness class Ratner and challenge yourself to make a new friend.
  • Practice mindful meditation or guided breathing for 10 minutes.
  • Play a quick card game, like Uno or Speed.
  • Do some full-body stretching or yoga poses.
  • Visit one of the "sunny spots" on campus, or do some studying outside on the Midway.
  • Watch the live feed of Botany pond with baby ducks.
  • Check out Shedd Aquarium’s Instagram or Facebook page and follow along as their penguins visit other parts of the aquarium.
  • Take a walk in your neighborhood and snap a picture of some spring flowers.
  • Take a break from all devices by putting an alarm on your phone for 10 minutes and then placing it facedown. Don’t pick it up or look at screens until the alarm goes off.
  • Explore the Art Institute’s virtual collection.
  • Turn on your favorite song and just dance.

It is important to note that fulfilling breaks do not include browsing social media pages, streaming videos online, or catching up on the news. Do something different that takes your eyes away from a screen and into the physical world!

Here are more resources for more ideas on taking a break:

  • Interested in local exhibitions, lectures, and unique things to do locally? Click here to learn more.
  • Want to learn to tango or do archery? Click here to search through hundreds of organizations and meet some fun new people!
  • Want to play an individual or team sport for some friendly competition? Click here to browse through and register for an intramural sport!

If you are passionate about empowering students to take care of themselves through the art of resting and socializing, you can host your own Take 10 event! Use our logo to draw students' attention. Contact Emily Schulze at eschulze@uchicago.edu.

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