10 Ways to Practice Self-Care During Thanksgiving Break

If you’re like most college students, you’ve likely been swamped in essays, exams, projects, and a million other due dates that seem to never stop. You’re tired, stressed, and in need of a meal not compromised of ramen noodles or frozen waffles. That’s what makes Thanksgiving Break so perfect for this time of year. If you’re visiting family, you can get off campus for a few days and take some time to be thankful for the celebratory meal coming your way, and if you’ve got other plans, you at least have some distance between you and your next due date.

But do you want to know something about Thanksgiving? It’s stressful.

Everyone else had the grand idea to travel on the same days. All of your relatives surround you, likely asking you a million questions and crowding your personal space. Black Friday is an absolute nightmare, and in an attempt to have a Pinterest-Perfect holiday, you’re putting so much effort that you need a vacation from your vacation.

But you can still practice self-care this Thanksgiving and give yourself the well-needed break, and here’s how.

  1. 1. Stop Thinking About School.

    I really mean this. Put away your planner, close your inbox, and look away from Canvas. If your mind is still tied up stressing about school, the geographical distance between you and campus means nothing. Allow yourself to take an actual break, even if just for a little while.

  2. 2. Take Some Time to Yourself.

    Family’s great, and while it’s so nice to see them, you haven’t had time to yourself for a while. Don’t feel guilty for spending time away from them this Thanksgiving. Take some time during your break to do something by yourself like visiting a local park, buying a latte at your favorite coffee store, or going for a walk around the neighborhood. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to indulge in family time.

    Pro tip: avoid shopping centers during this time unless you want some pre-Black Friday stress.

  3. 3. Take a Look Ahead at Your Schedule.

    Wait, didn’t I just say to stop thinking about school? Yes, I did, but after you’ve put some distance between you and school-related stress, there’s nothing wrong with getting ahead. If you know what’s coming after break, you’ll be much less stressed, and you can even make plans to proactively study or rearrange your schedule for reduced panic. But don’t let preparations for your return ruin your entire break.

  4. 4. Call Some Friends. 

    I promise that you’re not the only one in your friend group overwhelmed by your relatives and in need of a nice chat. Consider setting up a group facetime for you and your friends to vent about your homework assignment due on Sunday night or share a hilarious story from Black Friday shenanigans.

  5. 5. Get Some Sleep.

    Midterms likely stole your precious sleeping hours from you, and it’s time to catch up! Revel in the stereotype of the exhausted college student sleeping through the whole break. It may seem boring, but when you get back and say you spent your time sleeping, everyone will be jealous.

  6. 6. Spend Time with Family.

    Your extended relatives may seem like another source of stress, especially if you’re confined to small space with them as you celebrate the holidays, but their unique personalities don’t have to be overwhelming. These people love you, so spend some time with them. If you find yourself getting annoyed, take a step back. That could mean stepping away from the socialization for some alone time, laughing at their interesting quirks, or reminding yourself that they don’t mean to overwhelm you. If anything, you’ll come back to campus with some funny stories.

  7. 7. Have a Night In. 

    If you can manage it, a night-in is a great way to destress. Rather than visiting high school friends or family members, spend a night with yourself! Stream some fun movies, light a candle, and do a face mask. Maybe even invite your close relatives like your mom or siblings to join you.

  8. 8. Read Something Not Assigned for School.

    Let’s be real – assigned readings are killing any attempt at reading for pleasure. When you’re barely finishing all the required pages and getting a headache from reaching all that tiny print, you’re not about to pull out a novel and start reading! You don’t have to pick up a copy of award-winning literature to read something on your own time. Give your bookshelf a second look for books you’ve forgotten about, find some interesting magazines, or scroll through Her Campus for some interesting reading. It’s a nice way to remind yourself that reading can be fun when it isn’t assigned.

  9. 9. Enjoy Yourself!

    You don’t need an Instagram-worthy pumpkin pie to have a nice Thanksgiving. Honestly, you don’t even really need to have a Thanksgiving celebration to have a nice Thanksgiving break. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have a Hallmark Original Holiday, alright? As long as you’re destressing and having a nice time, that’s the perfect Thanksgiving.

  10. 10. Give Thanks!

    While this may sound like a cheesy holiday movie, we have a lot to be thankful for. Being a student is hard, and depending on your circumstances, you might be facing a lot more pressure than upcoming exams. I’m not saying that you should discount your hardships or perseverance in any way, but if you take the time to think about it, you also have a lot to be thankful for. For example, we’re lucky to pursue higher education. It wasn’t until 1955 that women could even attend Clemson, and that date doesn’t even address the disparities women of color faced to enroll in Clemson as the university didn’t even desegregate until 1963.

    This Thanksgiving, consider what you’re thankful for. Reframing your thoughts around what you’re thankful for rather than what you’re worried about is a great way to encourage yourself as we go into the end of the semester.

No matter how you take care of yourself this week, have an amazing Thanksgiving break. See you soon in Tiger Town!