You’ve almost made it to the best part of the semester—winter break! After a long four months of classes, exams, and everything in between, you finally have some time away from school to focus on you. Taking care of your mental health may not be top of your to-do list when the semester gets busy. So, spend the next few weeks prioritizing you—here are some tips to help you get started.
Leave your school life behind you.
One of the best ways to de-stress and clear your mind when the semester is over is to stop thinking about school for a while. Close out any school-related tabs on your devices. Empty out your school bag and put it away for the rest of the year. Hide school apps on your phone. With these things out of sight, they’ll be out of mind, too.
Catch up on sleep.
The end of the semester is super stressful. With finals, campus activities, and potential travel plans, sleep schedules are bound to get messed up. Once things calm down, make sure you get your rest in. Getting good sleep is crucial to feeling good.
Make a schedule.
During the semester, all your responsibilities are pretty segmented throughout your day. On the other hand, it can be overwhelming to have free time during break and nothing in particular to do. Avoid stressful last-minute plans—set up time to be with friends and family, run errands, and be sure to include some much-needed down time. Schedule everything in a physical or digital calendar to keep track. Go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day to establish a routine.
Do things that make you happy.
Now is your time to focus on you, so start doing the things you wanted to do all semester but didn’t have the time for. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Hit the gym. Binge some movies, volunteer, do absolutely nothing if that’s what you want to do. Putting yourself and your wants first is a surefire way to support your mental health.
Get some fresh air.
If you live in an area that gets really cold during the winter, this might not sound too appealing. But facts are facts: spending time outside is therapeutic and can reduce stress.
Self-care is essential.
Whether you want to revamp your 10-step skincare routine or start doing yoga every morning, incorporating some self-care techniques into your winter break can help beat the blues and keep your mental health on track. Try meditation, a guided breathing session, listening to soothing music, or mindful walking to clear your head and unwind.
Exercise and eat healthy foods.
The winter is notorious for an overabundance of sweet treats and large family meals, so it’s pretty easy to go overboard. Too much unhealthy food can negatively impact your mood, so make sure you’re balancing out your milk and cookies with something nutritious and regular physical activity.
Get help from others.
There’s no shame in needing extra help or someone to talk to. Look for different social groups and programs in your community or online for support. Active Minds has tons of resources with college students in mind. Reach out to family members or friends for comfort. There’s also no harm in finding a mental health professional or therapist—they’re great people to turn to so you can understand your feelings and find ways to manage them.
Your mental health matters
We know taking care of your physical health is important, but don’t forget about your mental health, too. We’re moving into a new year—it’s time to move taking care of yourself to the top of that to-do list. Plan some you-time, get some rest in, and have a great winter break.