Making the Most out of Break

Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday, but many students may have the opportunity to start their break early. From taking time to rest and recharge to preparing for internship season, Big Red Resilience and Well-being's Madi Giacomo has tips for you to make the most our of your time off!

A smart phone with headphones, a cup of coffee, and a journal sit on top of a yellow and orange blanket.
By Madi Giacomo
Sunday, November 20, 2022
Tip 1: REST!
This is the most important tip of them all. Many students during this time are experiencing burnout (including me), and breaks are essential to reset and regroup. Our mental health thrives off of resting and taking breaks, no matter how busy you are. It can be a challenge to find time to fully rest with no distractions. Even during a school break it seems like there is always something that needs to be done. However, rest is a form of self-care. You owe it to yourself to take a step back and find some peace after a busy week of midterms. Be intentional about your rest—whatever you are planning on doing during this break, everyone can find at least 30 minutes in the day to relax. Find a meditation on YouTube, break out your journal, or even just sit in peace and quiet. Even take a three-hour nap if you want! Either way, you deserve rest and I encourage you to at least try to find some peace and relaxation during this fall break!

Tip 2: Reflect on your semester
Once a new semester starts and workload and tasks start piling up, it is easy to get caught in a monotonous routine that repeats itself every day. It feels like you can’t catch up, and you’re always behind on some assignment or haven’t studied enough. This is where burnout starts to form, and boy is it a vicious cycle. Take some time to self-reflect on how you are feeling so far this semester. Run a self-check—am I feeling okay and healthy? Do I take intentional time to take care of myself? Am I enjoying life or just going through the motions? Am I motivated in school or am I just completing assignments because I have to? Have I been happy this semester? Do I enjoy my friendships and relationships? Sit down and seriously ask yourself these questions. It is so important to check in on yourself because sometimes life gets so busy you don’t have time to sit with your feelings and make sure you’re okay. You are worthy of a happy and healthy life, and if you don’t feel like your best right now, that’s okay! Life always has some hills and valleys, but make sure to reach out for some support if you need it. Big Red Resilience and Well-being's Wellbeing Ambassadors are always here to listen, as well as CAPS. Or even reach out to a loved one or friend. You are resilient!

Tip 3: Prepare for interview season
If you find yourself with some extra free time, this break is a great opportunity to update or create your resume and think about future opportunities. No matter what year you are in college, it is never a bad thing to think about your future. Maybe you can explore some internship or research opportunities! Update your LinkedIn and start searching. Reach out to professors or advisors that can help you in your search and offer advice. If you are looking for shadowing opportunities, reach out to different locations you might be interested in. This could even be a great time to search for volunteer opportunities if you are looking to improve your resume and get more involved in the community. No matter what your future endeavors are, it’s great to be proactive and stay on top of your future, because you are capable of amazing things!

Tip 4: Reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with
Once you go to college and leave behind your circle of friends and people you see every day, it becomes tough to keep in touch with those you love. That's just the reality of it! College is a time to grow and branch out and meet new people, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose touch with your old friends. I’m sure at least one person comes to mind that you can send a quick text to reconnect. If you’ve gone home for fall break, reach out to someone you haven’t seen in a while to get some coffee or go on a walk! Having a circle of people in your life who care for you and want the best for you is a form of self-care, so it is important to make an effort to maintain previous relationships while you’re at college forming new ones!

Tip 5: Be gentle with yourself and eat intuitively
Thanksgiving is a great time to connect with family, friends, and loved ones, but it can be difficult at the same time to be around a lot of different people with different values. Also, since this holiday is so focused on food and eating, it can be tough for those struggling with difficult relationships with body image and food. From our “Navigating Thanksgiving and Diet Culture” blog posted last week, the “Practicing Mindfulness” section offers a strong insight into managing this relationship.

“This Thanksgiving and holiday season, try to fully engage in your experiences. Eat all of the foods you want to and let yourself enjoy the smells and flavors of Thanksgiving! Avoid eating past your hunger level – you can always go back for seconds. If you notice any guilt or judgmental thoughts, pause and reflect on why you might be feeling that way.”

For more tips on this, check out the rest of the blog on Wondering where you can find help? Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a variety of support services around disordered eating and body acceptance.