Somehow, fall semester has crept past us and winter break is upon us. I’m not sure if I am happier to see this break than I am terrified that I only have three more semesters here. Before the new semester begins, we are lucky enough to have a month-long break to relax and renew ourselves before another stressful (and fun) semester. It’s important to make the absolute most out of your time off from school so that you return with a clear head and the feeling that you have accomplished more than just finishing a tv series and countless bags of chips. Here are some tips on how to get everything you want (and then some) from your winter break.
1. Write it down! Before break starts (or in the first few days) compile a list of things you want to accomplish. It doesn’t matter how random or specific your list is- as long as it is comprised of things you hope to get done over break, it works! With an actual list, you will be more capable of holding yourself accountable. Plus, you get that awesome feeling of checking or crossing something off of your list! You can also add to it throughout the month.
2. Set a sleep schedule. Your body functions its best and you feel the most rested when you are on a fairly regular sleeping schedule. Set this early in the semester and try to stick as close to it as possible for the duration of the break. This will help you have a more productive sleep (REM!) and will keep you feeling more refreshed than if you are staying up into the wee hours of the night and sleeping well into the next afternoon. The best part about a routine sleep schedule is the hours in the day that you get to spend awake. This will give you even more time to enjoy!
3. Connect with friends and family. Whether you haven’t seen your friends from home since the summer or you’ve been skipping out on sibling time, make it a point to restore these relationships over the holiday season. This is the perfect season for strengthening bonds. Don’t just make tentative plans- follow through with them. It’s important to incorporate quality time with your loved times as much as possible.
4. Remind yourself of the things you enjoy. During the academic year, we all have a tendency to let go of certain things we enjoy in order to succeed in school or focus on what we deem important. Our hobbies and favorite activities aren’t meant to be forgotten. Pick these things back up- whether it’s playing an instrument, crafting, or exercising. The more committed you become over break to give yourself time for the things you find happiness in, the more likely you are to carry this into the second semester.
5. Read! I’m not just saying this as an avid reader and English major. Reading is a great form of stress relief, a temporary escape from reality, and a way to sharpen your brain. Even if you’ve never enjoyed reading in the past, take some time to look into what genre you would enjoy. No matter what, give it another chance.
6. Breathe. It’s so easy to forget to stop, relax, and take in the world around you. Take the month to do just that. Look outside the window. Take a walk around the city. Watch one snowflake fall all the way to the ground. You’ll be reminded how special life is.
Above all else, enjoy break in your own unique way. Before we know it, we’ll be back at UIC working through another semester. Have a great time off! Until next time.