Why You Should Take a Weekend Getaway

It’s midterm season and everyone is a little more tired, a little more stressed, and a little more caffeine-infused than normal. Most of us are cramming for exams and busting out essays in hope that time will fly by and we’ll reach that much deserved break in between midterms and finals. With all the pressure that builds up in our minds and bodies, it’s hard not to have a breakdown or two. And at this point we can collectively empathize with the sleep-deprived, burning-eye feeling that plagues our classmates (and ourselves) day after day.

Chaffeys Lock, Ontario, Canada

I felt this stress recently when I was hit by a wave of essays and assignments that kept me up writing into the late hours of the night. Luckily, I was provided with a remedy for this stress — a trip to my grandma’s. My grandma lives forty-five minutes outside of Kingston, Ontario, Canada in a cozy, well-furnished cottage that sits on the edge of Lake Benson. Since I can get a direct flight from Boston to Ottawa, I’ve gotten in the habit of using Columbus Day Weekend to celebrate (Canadian) Thanksgiving with my family in Ontario for the past three years. I’ve found this yearly ritual to not only be an enjoyable way to catch up with my relatives, but a crucial strategy to revitalizing my mental health during a busy time of the semester.

This semester, my annual visit was more than necessary. I landed in Ottawa burdened by the stress of my assignments and exhausted from a week of sleepless nights. My grandparents, being true heroes, picked me up at 10 a.m., drove straight to A & W Burger, then Tim Hortons for a coffee, and had me at the cottage by early afternoon. I arrived, refreshed, to a peaceful and comforting home with no distractions and no reminders of how stressed I felt. Simply put, this was the ideal place to buckle down and accomplish all my tasks.

Benson Lake, Ontario, Canada

And accomplish them I did. I had an amazing weekend with my family, good food, and crisp fall air that Boston cannot rival. I was able to focus on my tasks and set aside time to visit some preferred spots. I learned there is no better place to work than in front of a log-burning fireplace. As usual, I was sad to say goodbye when it came time to drive to the airport Monday morning, but I was also beyond grateful for the company and support my grandparents and family members lent me that weekend.

The point of this anecdote is that when the pressure is mounting, a change of scenery can be unparalleled in its payoff. As college students, we are always on the go, always working on an assignment, and always taking on more than we can handle. As a result, our bodies can sometimes transition into autopilot, and we need something to help us perform a little mental rewiring to help us get back to an ideal mental state. I propose a weekend getaway. It doesn’t have to be far, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Simply taking two days to sit on a couch by a fireplace can prompt a complete mental transformation. Why is this? Once you take your body and mind out of the environment that supplies the stress, you have a moment to breathe and collect your thoughts. You have no immediate obligations to anyone but yourself. Even your diet is temporarily different. Good food is, after all, incredibly rejuvenating.

Newburyport, MA (Credit: Essex Street Inn)

I understand we’re college students, and often don’t have the time or money to finance a vacation. But even a day trip can have a beneficial impact. And the area surrounding Boston has beautiful towns that are well worth exploring. My sophomore year, a friend of mine and I took the commuter rail into Newburyport for the day. She had a photography project and wanted a different setting for some new material. We arrived just as lunch time was approaching, and treated ourselves to a delicious meal at a nearby restaurant. We walked along the water, wandered into little boutiques, snapped countless photos, and ended up sipping coffee in a little café before we had to catch our train. It was a productive, but more importantly, memorable afternoon that gave us fresh air and a feeling of relaxation missing from both of our lives.

 

So if you’re feeling stressed, strung-out, or sleep-deprived, take a day and travel somewhere to refresh your brain. You’ll work more efficiently and return ready to take on whatever college has to throw your way.

 

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