Stay relaxed during a busy winter break

By Shivali Shukla, Staff Writer

Hot cocoa. Marshmallows. Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey on the radio. Bright lights lining every corner. The holiday season is finally here, and no matter what you might associate this time of year with, it’s usually a time to wind down and enjoy a short break from the usual chaos of the semester.

However, it’s also pretty common to take this break as an extra opportunity to enroll in winter courses or cram for a major standardized exam. I know this might make you feel like you’re not really getting time off at all, especially when you just finished a stressful semester. Despite this, there are definitely some things you can do to feel like you’re still getting some semblance of a break, even though you might have a bit of hard work ahead of you this holiday season.

Spend time with your loved ones

If you’re celebrating this holiday season at home with your family, it might be nice to dedicate at least a day or two per week to spending quality time with them or with your friends. Single out some time when you can just forget about the work you have to do and focus all your energy on the people you love. Go ice skating, reward yourself with a nice brunch, go see a local Christmas parade, book a lights tour, go holiday gift shopping or make some DIY holiday cards back at home.

Give yourself a mental break

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Whatever it is you like to do, doing it with the people you love and actively choosing to not get distracted by your work will make it all the more relaxing experience. Even though you might have a lot to do, giving yourself a break here and there is a necessity no matter what time of the year it is. The holiday season is just an excuse to give yourself a few more than usual. Put all your energy into these breaks, and don’t let your mind wander back to all the work you have to do. The key here is to make sure that when you’re not doing your work, you’re not thinking about it, either. Out of sight means out of mind.

Make doing work fun

When you unfortunately do have to crack down and get back to business, try studying with friends. Make it a fun experience by playing your favorite holiday tunes, get some hot chocolate or seasonal coffee and find a new study spot. Maybe get together at a friend’s house and study in your PJs.

If you try to avoid your usual study spots and get creative in finding new ones, it’ll really change your whole school experience. Don’t go to the same library you always frequent during the semester; change it up and do something different. If you tend to usually find yourself at a library on campus, try to find a coffee shop back home for a change of pace. If you’re on vacation, lay out a blanket and crank out that essay on the beach. It really does alter your perspective and how you feel at the end of the day. Avoid the same, monotonous routine, and you won’t feel like you’re stuck in the middle of the semester.

Test new study routines

Along with finding new places to study, try to find new methods of studying as well. While you’re surrounded by friends and family who might have more free time than you, ask them to test you on concepts or teach them what you’re learning. Find ways to study that work for you and spend time with your loved ones at once. That’s something you definitely can’t do on campus, so take advantage of it this holiday season.

Shivali is a junior in AHS. 

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