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Why a “Stay-cation” Can Be Good for Your Mental Health

The process of college is stressful. Morning classes. Late-night study sessions. Sub-par cafeteria food. Endless assignments and readings. Roommates. Maintaining a social life. Maintaining a love life. Little sleep. Group projects. Tests work half of your grade. Extracurricular sports and activities and meetings. Summer internship applications. Day jobs. Sleeping through alarms. Eating on the go. Walking across campus to every part of your full-packed day. It’s widely known to be “the best time of your life,” but sometimes you need a break. Well—now you have one.

A “staycation” is arguably the best use of your spring break time, leaving the mandated week of anything but your daily responsibilities. Sound relaxing? It can be if you do it right. 

It’s hard to think of it that way when every professor is asking “what is everyone doing for spring break?” at the close of classes that last Thursday morning, but—trust me—you’ll be thankful for it in the long-run. Don’t believe me? Here’s why.

a pink neon Max van den Oetelaar | Unsplash

  1. 1. The “real world” doesn’t get “spring breaks.”

    That’s right. This may be one of your last opportunities to spend a week doing nothing but watching old Jennifer Garner movies and trying out face masks. Sure, you might do that back at school, but with no responsibilities on your back? That’s priceless. 

    Take the week off—for real. Use the week as a catch-up for things you’ve been meaning to do. Read a book. Journal. Have lunch with friends. Spend the day with your family. This is a rare opportunity to be a kid for a few days. Enjoy it! Sleep in and argue with your sister about her borrowing your clothes. When finals come, you’ll be begging for it.

  2. 2. Time to unclutter your brain

    Sound impossible? Not with no responsibilities. 

    I always have a million things on my to-do list (exaggerating only a little). Just when I finish a task, three more pile on. It’s gotten so bad I can no longer write my lists on paper, needing the endless scroll of an iPhone at my fingertips. And yet, during a staycation, it all just… stops. I make a list, and (if I schedule things out correctly) it’s more satisfying than watching sliced soap. A blank page. No responsibilities. No deadlines. Ahhh. Perfect.

  3. 3. Time to focus on yourself.

    Until you have an uncluttered brain, it’s impossible to think about yourself. There’s just too much in the way. But, without that, bombs away. A staycation gives you more time to think about yourself and evaluate your needs. 

    Think of the break as a time-out. Take a seat. Take a breath. Take a count of the wounded. 

    What happened recently that you want to look into a bit more? What made you feel uneasy? Anxious? How can you fix your discomfort? 

    Look into the complications of your life and create a plan of action. Use the reset period of your staycation spring break to fix your sleep schedule, create healthier eating choices/habits, and fix disputes with old or neglected friends. Whatever you set your mind to, you now have the time. Just don’t waste it.