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How to Relax over College Holiday Breaks

Shifting from the Chaos of the Semester Often Takes a Little Bit of Work

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College students sitting side by side on ledge
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With every college semester comes stress for college students: Homework. Papers. Midterms. Managing a social life. Managing your finances. And last but not least: Finals.

Once the semester ends, however, how can you relax and unwind?

  1. Finish any homework early. If you have papers, research, or other academic work to finish over the break, finish it relatively early. Once you get everything done, your mind will really be able to relax and let go.
  2. Take time to reflect on last semester. It may seem silly, but even a few hours of critical thinking about what went well -- and what didn't -- last semester will help clear your mind and get you ready for next semester.
  3. Take time to reflect on next semester. Thinking about what you want to do next semester -- managing your time better, exercising, meeting more people -- can help you be mentally ready when the next semester starts. And planning on ways things will be better can help eliminate stress around what the future will bring.
  4. Do things that aren't goal-oriented. During the semester, you probably have fifteen things going on at the same time, all of which are goal-oriented: doing homework so you can write that paper or lab report. Reading that article so you can contribute to class discussion or a group project. As a break for you mind, read something just to read it. Attend an event without taking notes. Let your brain relax and enjoy.
  5. Mentally let yourself relax. You've been going at such a fast pace during the semester that your brain may need to be reminded that it's actually okay not to be running a million miles an hour. Give your brain the permission to veg.
  6. Volunteer. Volunteering is always good for getting some perspective, always good for your spirit, always good for people in need. Conclusion: it's always good. Try it.
  7. Connect with your support networks. If you're at home over a break, connect with the systems that support you the best. Friends, family, a familiar hangout, your church/temple/mosque: they all help connect you to what's important and, consequently, let the stress slip away.

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