Let’s be real: No one really enjoys studying. Sure, some people love learning, but that’s not the same thing as cracking open a textbook to memorize boring facts and formulas. Learning can be fun, while studying is something you do mostly out of necessity — like completing chores or applying for college scholarships.
If you’re struggling to find the motivation to study, a little self-bribery can go a long way in making the act of studying a little less painful. By setting small goals and giving yourself rewards for meeting those goals, you can motivate yourself to study for the driest, most boring of topics (trigonometry, anyone?).
Obviously, you know yourself best. But if you need some ideas for rewards, here are 11 ways to reward yourself for studying. Go on — treat yo’ self.
1.Take a relaxing bath.
There is something about taking a bath that is just relaxing AF. It’s warm. It’s quiet. You feel comfortable there. Not to mention, it’s a great way to clear your head after reviewing dense or technical material. For maximum relaxation, try adding some essential oils to your bath.
2.Watch an episode of Netflix.
After slogging your way through O-chem (or whatever monstrosity of a subject you’re studying), treat yourself to an episode or two of a TV show on your Netflix watchlist. Just don’t pick something too binge-worthy, like Bridgerton or Euphoria. Can’t resist watching more than one episode? Try limiting this reward to once a week.
3.Listen to music.
Many students find it helpful to listen to classical music while studying, which is great! But unless you’re a fan of Beethoven or Bach, you probably don’t listen to famous classical melodies in your free time. So, why not create a feel-good playlist that you can listen to after you finish studying? Crank up the tunes and bust a move. Better yet, sing — research shows that singing can help reduce stress (yes, even if you’re terrible at it).
4.Walk dogs at your local humane society.
Sure, some people may consider this “work.” But if you love animals, walking some cute pups is a fun way to recharge while getting some fresh air and exercise. On top of that, it will look good on a resume when it’s time to find internships for your future career.
5.Take a nap.
Sometimes, the best way to reward yourself after studying is to take a nap, especially if you stayed up late studying the night before. Napping offers a ton of benefits, including relaxation, improved mood, and better performance for when you get back to studying. So, set an alarm (preferably, one that isn’t completely obnoxious) and let yourself drift off into a peaceful slumber. Also, try your best to dream about something other than practice problems and boring equations.
6.Put sweets on your reading material.
Need to get through some boring reading assignments? Try this clever reward strategy: Place a small piece of candy on each page or paragraph of your textbook and treat yourself to it whenever you reach it. Of course, this strategy may not be the best if you have a lot of reading assignments to complete. Too much sugar can spike your blood sugar levels and make you feel jittery — aka, the dreaded “sugar crash.”
7.Indulge in your favorite meal.
On a similar note (and perhaps a healthier note), you could treat yourself to your favorite meal after a long study sesh. If you have some extra cash to throw around, you could hit up your favorite sushi place and grab takeout. Working with a tight budget? Consider making a delicious meal at home. For instance, making homemade pizza is delicious and super fun!
8.Spend time with friends.
After spending all day studying, spend some time with your friends — seriously, you earned it! If you can’t be with your friends in-person, use Discord to watch a movie or play video games together. Don’t have a lot of time to spare? Hop into a voice channel and talk for a few minutes before you get back to studying.
9.Pay yourself to study.
A new pair of shoes. Bluetooth headphones. A cozy hoodie. Whatever item you’ve been eyeing lately, consider using it as a reward for studying. As long as you do not break the 50 30 20 rule, this type of positive reinforcement can prove highly beneficial. For instance, you could toss a five-dollar bill into a jar for every hour you study. After so many hours of studying, you won’t feel the slightest bit guilty for splurging on a sleek pair of kicks or the latest technology.
Yep, go ahead: watch a few TikTok videos and scroll through Insta. As long as you put in the study time beforehand, there’s no reason why you can’t be on social media. Of course, we all know that five minutes of social media scrolling can easily turn into an hour-long session. To avoid wasting too much time checking the ’Gram, you may want to download an app that sets a time limit on your social media usage.
11.Get lost in a good book.
After getting through several boring reading assignments for school, treat yourself to a gripping thriller or a steamy romance novel. If your eyes can’t handle looking at any more words, listen to an audiobook instead. Better yet, listen to your audiobook while you walk! This is a great way to stretch your stiff legs and get some fresh air.