How to Ensure a Holiday Break is a Break
Hello Missouri State! It wasn’t long ago that we were on Thanksgiving break and soon we will be on winter break. I encourage you to finish these last weeks of the semester strong and to stay motivated in your coursework. As we prepare for another break I wanted to share my advice on how to ensure a holiday break is a break.
Adjusting to a New Routine
Whether you go home, stay on campus, or do something in between you’ll have to adjust to a new routine for a month. My biggest piece of advice is to give yourself time to figure out what works best for you. It will take a few days before you remember how to live with your parents or what to do with all your newfound free time. You could also find that you have a lot that you need to get done over break and finding time for it all quickly becomes overwhelming. Whatever your break looks like, give yourself grace as you figure out what your new normal may look like.
Productivity or Laziness
A big mind game I play with myself when I go home on a break is if I want to be productive or lazy with my time off and I always leave frustrated that I didn’t do the other. I’ve concluded though that either one is okay in moderation. As college students, breaks should be used to rest and refuel but the extra time can be used to our benefit to get things done. If you spend your whole break on the couch watching movies you may find that coming back to a busy semester is a real challenge. If you spend your break working you’ll enter the new semester restless and potentially anxious. I think it’s wise to make a plan of all the things you hope to accomplish while on the break with implemented times to rest. If you find yourself bored or lacking productivity check back in with your list of to-dos and check one off. This also works vice versa, if you are working long hours remind yourself that you’ve earned a break and do something mindless.
Preparation for the Upcoming Semester
I’ve talked frequently about the next semester after winter break because it’s the next milestone. I’m constantly thinking about the next thing and when on break all I can think about is the upcoming semester but it’s also important to reflect on the previous. Benefits to reflecting include knowing what worked and what didn’t, your favorite memories, showing gratitude for your new community, and a check-in with your goals. After you finish reflecting, it’s wise to apply it to your upcoming semester. For example, if you found that you did not study well in your dorm room, make an adjustment to find a new space. Maybe you’ve decided you want to get more involved on campus and so you find an organization that you’re interested in. A good way to be held accountable for these adjustments is meeting with a peer mentor when you return from break. Letting your peer mentor know what your goals are for the upcoming semester will allow them to share resources and support along the way. Everyone’s semester looks different but anyone could benefit from a time of reflection and adjustment.
Take a Break
This is a piece of advice for myself just as much as anyone else. As college students, there is an underlying pressure to make money or to stay busy but we all need a break. We’ve all worked hard from August to now and our reward is the time off, what you do with that time is your choice. From my experience moderation of productivity and laziness with reflection time is the best way to spend a break. I hope you were able to take something away from my experience and that you remember to truly rest however that may look.
“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.” – Doe Zantamata
(Bio: My name is Aubrey Hardy, a sophomore studying special needs education. Fun fact: I grew up on a farm.)