5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care Over Winter Break

It can be easy to let self-care slide during the semester when there is always a deadline looming in sight. Slowly but surely, the good habits we’ve picked up lose importance as we become burdened with bad habits, such as bad eating and sleeping schedules. If we barely have time to sleep, how can we have time to keep up with and create good habits for our well-being? I have been looking forward to winter break not only as a time to relax at home and celebrate the holidays with family, but also to shift importance back to self-care. If this sounds like something you’d also want to do, read on for my ideas.

  1. 1. Journaling

    I personally benefit from journaling, but I have a really hard time sticking with it; I tend to journal whenever the idea comes to mind instead of making it a habit because I get lazy and find excuses. If you’re like me, you can use the few weeks of winter break to get into the habit of journaling daily. It’s a very healthy habit to have—studies have shown that journaling helps to reduce stress and prioritize your feelings and emotions. The great thing about journaling is that there are so many ways to go about it that you’ll definitely find one that makes sense for you: cute bullet journals, apps (such as OneNote or even just the Notes app), gratitude journals, music journaling (which I discovered through Bannon), and your traditional normal journal. Even if you’ve tried journaling before and didn’t feel like it worked for you, you can use the break to try again and reap the benefits before coming back to the spring semester.

  2. 2. Meditating

    I have been trying to get into the habit of meditating for a long time now, but it seems like every time I start forming the habit I get distracted by school. I myself will be using this long break to permanently get into the habit. Studies have shown that meditation helps to reduce mental health and promote healthy behaviors. As someone who has a hard time sitting still and thinking nothing, I enjoy the app Headspace because it offers helpful introductory meditations for beginners and you can choose how long to meditate. Thus, you can’t make the excuse that there is not enough time because a simple morning meditation would take only five minutes. Let’s be honest: those five minutes are better spent meditating than scrolling through Instagram.

  3. 3. Exercising

    I have a very hard time keeping up with this one—I’ll go to the gym for a couple of weeks before getting bored and finding an excuse to stop. Winter break is a great time to get into working out because you don’t have the time constraint of school. There are so many different kinds of workouts, though, that even someone like me is sure to find one to actually stick to. You can try using workout apps or videos, a neighborhood gym, or spice things out by trying a new class, such as Rumble boxing (of which I am personally a fan). Once you find something you like, try to incorporate it into your routine; if you like yoga, stretching it out on your mat for just 15 minutes a day can positively impact your life. If you’re like me and hate working out, check out this article for workout ideas.

  4. 4. Reading

    I have a hard time reading during the semester because I’m exhausted from doing my readings for classes, so I end up mindlessly watching Netflix. There is, however, a stack of books impatiently waiting for me at home that I plan on getting to over this break. Reading is a great way to get yourself out of this world and into another. Reading has many benefits, and can even reduce the rate of cognitive decline in dementia patients. If you want to find your inner bookworm over this break but don’t know where to start, check out this article of the best books of 2019.

  5. 5. Picking up a new, positive habit

    Although 3–4 weeks is not an incredibly long time, it is enough time to start forming new, good habits for yourself. Studies show that you can form simple habits in just 21 days (3 weeks!). Although more significant changes take longer, this time away from school is a great opportunity to try. Try drinking a whole glass of water every morning after you wake up. Meditate for 5 minutes once a day. Journal the cute dogs you saw on your commute. Amp up your skincare routine.

These five ideas are five of many; the point is to take time for yourself over the break, since I’ll bet you haven’t been during finals season. The break is a great way to start over, a clean slate for all the good things you want to do for yourself. Instead of getting mad at what you could’ve done better or the good habits you lost, use this break to shake everything off. Try again for old habits and start up new ones. What better way to use the break from classes?