By Mia Birkes
With winter break in full swing, we can finally take a step back and breathe after 14 weeks of hard work. Some people may be traveling home while others remain on campus, but no matter your holiday situation, it can be easy to fall into bad habits and lose focus over these next three and a half weeks. I have compiled a list of tips for staying motivated over long breaks, citing my own personal experiences.
- Allow yourself to rest.
You’ve worked hard to get to this point! It’s important that you take a few days or even the first week to rest and relax. Get as much sleep as you can, enjoy the company of friends and family, and play with your pets if you have any. You deserve time to really get back to you.
2. Follow a schedule, even if it’s relaxed.
It’s easy to spend your break playing video games or partying with friends from high school. Break is to enjoy yourself, but it’s important that you have a schedule to follow. This will help you keep a structured daily life and make the transition between semesters much easier than if you were to stay up late and sleep in even later. Set a sleep schedule that works for you and follow it as closely as you can. Try to eat all your meals at the same time. Find a daily groove that keeps you engaged.
3. Find something that gives you structure, like a job or community project.
Many of us spend our breaks working to save enough money for the next semester. You may want to spend more time volunteering, job shadowing, or working on community projects. If you find that you have too much free time during the day, go out and look for things that people are doing. Is your favorite business downtown repainting? Ask if you can help!
4. Try that thing you’ve been wanting to do.
You can also combat break boredom by finally trying out that thing you saw on TikTok, trying some of your grandma’s recipes, or whatever endeavor you’ve been thinking about every time you sit down to study and think, “man, I really want to do that right now.”
Buy some canvas and cheap paint (94 cent acrylics in every color you can imagine) at Walmart and paint a portrait. Figure out the perfect way to cook rice or noodles with what you have in your dorm. What about that lawnmower your dad said was trash, but still has in the shed? Take that engine apart and put it back together. Heck, make it a little race car!
5. Take the time to look ahead at your next semester.
Towards the end of your break, start looking—I mean, really looking—at your schedule for the next semester. Who teaches it, where, and when? Freshman year is usually planned for you, so make sure you check! I love organizing, so all my courses are color-coded in a paper planner, on a whiteboard calendar, and on the MyStudyLife app. Find something that gets you prepared and excited for the coming semester!