• The Vindicator

Winter Break Reset (Or, How To Get Your Sh!t Together Over Break)

This winter break, relearn how to take care of yourself while staying warm using these tips on taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Written by: Lauren Koleszar

We went into the semester wide-eyed and scrambling for a return to normalcy after a year and a half adjustment to working from home. Thrown back into the swing of things with little room for recovery, we’re rapidly relearning basic habits and routines that feel familiar but out of reach. Returning to our old lifestyle has given us all whiplash, and it’s indescribably isolating. It isn’t until being in the midst of normal life where we have to think about deadlines, drive times, and daily tasks that we’ve realized perhaps too late that we weren’t ready for.


Rather than regret not adjusting faster or not being more on top of things, we need to recover from this semester and remind ourselves that we’ve pushed ourselves through a challenging time. Winter break is a good time to reflect and reset, working on our physical, emotional and mental health.

Winter break is a good time to reflect and reset, working on our physical, emotional and mental health.

Defeat Seasonal Depression

We often find ourselves alone or inside more than we’re used to in the winter, and this can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and seasonal depression. Seasonal depression is a real thing that frequently goes undiagnosed. Even if depression is not something you usually struggle with, less light and colder temperatures can negatively affect everyone. During winter break, try remedying the lack of light with vitamin D supplements, a light therapy lamp, or new decorative lights for your space. Adopting new indoor plants is another great way to liven up a space and decrease feelings of depression.


Redecorate

Declutter your workspace and transform it into a space where you actually want to be in — whatever this means for you. Put up pictures of things that inspire you, throw out old papers and tack up a calendar for next semester. Write out major goals, deadlines and plans so that you can see them all in front of you. This keeps important dates on your radar and helps you to visualize things that are important to you. The change in your external world will quickly influence your internal one, and you’ll notice that when you clear the chaos of your physical surroundings, it’ll be easier to do the same within you.


Stay Warm

When it’s cold outside, all we want to do is curl up in a blanket, oftentimes staying in bed longer than is good for us. While sleeping in and relaxing are important things to let yourself enjoy during break, try finding ways to mix in healthy habits with fun ways of staying warm and feeling cozy. Establishing a sleep routine is one of the best ways to do this. If you give your mind and body things to associate with sleeping, your sleeping habits will fall into place and you’ll start feeling more energized.


Love Your Body

For some, eating more during the holidays and having less time for physical activity leads to insecurity about appearances, body dysmorphia and clothes starting to feel a little too tight. Finding ways to get more activity in during the winter months is a common new year’s resolution, but we need to be very careful to not hyperfixate on “getting fit” or dropping a size just because our bodies are naturally adjusting to the change in season. Make it a priority to adopt a loving attitude toward your body by taking care of your skin and wearing clothes in which you feel confident. Make it a habit to moisturize and find ways to make your skin care routine feel more like self care. When you’re decluttering your space, pick a day or week to go through your winter clothes and let go of anything that makes you feel unsure of yourself. Winter break is a perfect time to thrift or online shop for cozy sweaters, leggings and sweatpants that give your body some more space and free up your mind from thinking about sizes and fitness goals.


Get on Top of Your Shit

Okay, so you’ve taken time to rest and reorganize. Now, it’s time to utilize your new workspace, mindset, and lifestyle and get things in order for next semester, or whatever lies ahead. Start with the essentials: set financial goals and a budget for winter break; review your classes and schedule for next semester; and write out timelines for goals on your calendar. When you’re setting financial goals, take some time to organize papers you’ll need for taxes, update your resume and identify areas of spending where you need to do better at budgeting. For next semester, seriously consider whether your course schedule fits your needs. Were you overworked this semester? Maybe there’s a class you can hold off on taking or that you can drop if it’ll help you focus on your other classes. Remember: saying no to something means you’re saying yes to something else. When you’re filling out your calendar, look at it on a large scale — try looking at the next few months instead of just the current one. Identify your major obligations, be careful not to overwhelm yourself, and find pockets of time or a weekend where you can plan something fun with your friends ahead of time so you can have something to look forward to.


Practicing these mindset exercises, reconnecting with yourself and your goals, and decluttering your physical and mental space allows you to reset your environment over winter break. Then, we can all get the rest and organization we need to start the next semester healthier and happier.