With finals out of the way, break is upon us. Three weeks seems like a decent chunk of time off compared to the sixteen weeks of school we’ve just endured. But don’t be fooled, time flies when you are having fun. Here are 6 tips from PSWE about how to make the most out of winter break.
- Take spending time with family seriously and cherish the little moments.
Value the time you spend with your parents, siblings, grandparents and other people at home who really shaped you into the person you are today. If college has taught me anything, it is that family time will only become more scarce from here on out, so make the most of it. Be sure to step back and cherish not only the obvious moments such as family gatherings, meals and religious celebrations, but every moment you are with the people you love. Let loose singing in the car with your siblings, ask your grandma how her day went, and offer your parents help with the dishes. It doesn’t have to be an important celebration to be an important moment.
- Put aside some time to relax.
Whether this is sitting in the sauna at the gym, getting your nails done with your girls or even just appreciating the comfy couch at home, be sure to incorporate rest and relaxation into your schedule. Running around trying to see old friends or getting in all of your favorite local amenities at home is great, but don’t forget the word BREAK is on the calendar for a reason. Be joyfully prepared to come back and start new classes, not in need of a break from your break.
- Consider volunteering or going out of your way to help someone.
We’re fortunate to be getting an education, have a roof over our heads and be young and full of energy. But not everyone is afforded with these things we may take for granted. Help by serving a holiday meal at a shelter, donating a winter coat to someone in need or simply helping the old man next door shovel the snow from his driveway. Maybe consider visiting residents at a nursing home. These people often don’t have family around so they would appreciate the extra company this time of year. It is the season of giving and giving someone your time, talents or a listening ear can be powerful for everyone involved.
- Sit down and make goals for the next semester and year.
There’s no need to get too ambitious with planning ahead during your break from responsibilities, but do set some broader long term goals. Long term goals are helpful for personal outlook and provide a framework for making short term goals once the semester starts. Try to set at least two academic or career goals, one fitness goal and one other personal goal (possibility related to spirituality, finances, travel or other life experiences). Goal setting is a way to be productive over break while preparing to chime into the new year on a good note.
- Reflect on what went well this semester (and what didn’t go so well).
Along with those four or so goals you set, make two lists: one of what went well this semester and one of what didn’t. There’s no need to dwell on your shortcomings, but you should learn from them. Think of things in all of the categories of your goals. Say, “I got my 10,000 Fitbit steps almost every day this semester. That went well and I should vow to keep doing it!” or on the other hand “I feel I wasn’t as involved as I could’ve been on this group project. Next time something similar comes up, I will remind myself to be more outgoing and communicate my ideas enthusiastically.” Sitting down and reflecting can even help you set your goals. And it will surely get you thinking about how to start off the new year on a good note!
- Make at least one of the Pinterest crafts or desserts you’ve been dying to make!
This may not be as important as goal-setting or rest, but nonetheless it is important. There is research stating that things like coloring are good for stress relief. This is because when we do these fun and simple tasks we experience a sense of mindfulness on the task and escapism from other thoughts. Don’t lie about it, we all sit there thinking about how yummy a dessert will be while we’re decorating it. Think of this tip as relaxation for your brain. Perhaps try making Melted Snowman Oreo Balls or a Painted Snowman Mason Jar to get in the holiday spirit or for something functional all year round consider How to Make Elastic Hairties. This last one is my personal favorite because it’s simple, but will give you cute hairties at a fraction of the price you pay to buy these pre-made. Any of these could be cute gifts for friends as well!