Wellness Corner: Make the Most of Your Semester Break

   With the semester winding down, everyone is looking forward to some rest and relaxation. With a little pre-planning for your time-off during semester break, you can maximize your enjoyment of your downtime, allow for more fun, and leave yourself re-energized and excited to come back in the spring or to tackle what is next if you are graduating.
   Consider trying any of these tips to welcome the new year refreshed and ready for whatever comes next.

Allow yourself a day or two with nothing planned.
   This sounds obvious, but a wide open calendar can fill up fast. Intentionally set aside a day or two that are exclusively yours to spend spontaneously. Depending on your personality you might end up doing social activities like going out for lunch or meeting up with friends
   If you are more of a home-body, you might stay home with a cup of hot cocoa and a great movie instead. One these increasingly cold days and nights, this sounds like an excellent option for staying in.
   Whatever you do, make sure your time is free from obligation and that you truly spend it in a way that is refreshing for you.

Plan to see family and friends.
   Are you looking forward to spending time with your grandma or your little brother or sister? Plan these activities in advance.
   Don’t forget that your family members have lives and activities, too and that their schedules might not come with several weeks of relatively free time like yours does during this semester break.
   Don’t assume they can see you whenever is good for you, but instead, plan activities in advance to avoid dashed expectations and hurt feelings if someone has a prior engagement during your time off.

Plan to have some fun.
   Semester break is a great time to tackle a fun project from your Pinterest board, play the guitar, start a workout program, try cooking, or do anything else you love to do.
   You know, all that cool stuff you, “never have time for”? Well, now is the perfect time to choose something off the “cool stuff” list and enjoy it!

Get organized.
   If you are continuing with school in January, set aside a few hours one day to figure out your work and class schedules for the next semester.
   Make a list and shop for any books and necessary supplies over the break and make sure your work plans are set up with your employer for when you return to campus. Then, know that your plan is in place and forget about it!
   Spend the rest of your break enjoying the time off from your school life and look forward to returning energized in January, instead of worrying about little details during your time off.

Make peace with work.
   Many people utilize the weeks off between semesters to earn money for the next semester. This is a wise idea, but make sure you sprinkle a day or two throughout the break for time off work to re-energize, so you don’t return to school more tired than when you left.
   Overtime sounds great in theory, but not allowing yourself to rest after a full semester is a recipe for future exhaustion.
   Also, make a plan for your holiday earnings. Are they all going straight to school or are you saving up for something in the Spring?
   Any option you choose is great, but be sure you do choose so that your money isn’t spent spur of the moment just because you have it. It’s easy to overestimate and overspend while on break, especially during the holidays when everything is so enticing (and on sale).

Choose a comfortable amount of activities.
   Sometimes we head into a season, break, or stretch of time with unrealistic expectations.
   You may be planning to travel with friends, spend time relaxing with family, fill out a bunch of job applications, knit a scarf, go to a sporting event, read a much anticipated book and re-organize your closet. That is a quite a list!
   It may be more practical to set one personal, one professional, and one social goal for this break time and not overwhelm your schedule. Leave space so you come back from break refreshed and financed, not tired and broke.

Take time to rest.
   After weeks of hard work, honor your mind and body and truly use your time to relax.
   Many activities sound like a good idea initially, but if you don’t have the time, energy, or sometimes the funds to enjoy them, they can turn into a burden instead of something you look forward to.
   Be honest with yourself and your friends and family about how you want to spend your time, energy, and money over the break.
   Look for creative ways to compromise; like a day of shopping versus a weekend trip or a day spent hunting or ice fishing with a few friends instead of a large social engagement that you are too tired to enjoy.

Read Something Fun.
   When the assigned reading is all done and the textbooks are sold, pick up something on your “want to read” list and indulge.
   A humorous or adventurous book, magazine, or collection of poetry is the perfect way to spend a few wintery afternoons.
   If you like to be more active, though, try a free trial of Audible and listen to a new or favorite book while you go for a walk outside, clean, or work out.

Ashley Geist-Cusik