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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

Now that finals are wrapping up and the fall semester is coming to a close, many students may find themselves with the most free time on their hands they’ve had in months. Rather than letting these peaceful days before the end of a semester go to waste, here are some fun activities to do solo or with some friends before the stress of the holidays takes over.

Cozy Catch Up

With all the stress of big projects and even bigger exams, it’s easy to fall behind on favorite shows. Now that finals are over, take the time for a mental health day, prepare a comfort snack or two, grab a favorite beverage, and catch up from where school forced you to leave off. Along a similar vein, if there are any movie releases you’ve had to wait on, now is a great time to see if they’re streaming and give them a watch.

Deep clean your room

It never sounds fun, but as winter break approaches, trust that starting the new year in a clean environment always feels better. Without the pressures of finals, take the time to declutter, dust, and deal with any laundry that’s been taunting you from the corner of your room. When you return from break, it will be a relief knowing there aren’t any chores to demand your attention for a little bit.

Visit somewhere new

Arizona is full of hidden gems waiting for you to discover. From pretty trails to art exhibits and live music, Instagram accounts like @wildjoyexperiences and @welcometoarizona are constantly posting exciting local events. Not only is there something out there for anyone to enjoy, but the events they post are oftentimes free or low-cost! Take a day to find a new coffee shop or visit a new museum. Many businesses offer student discounts; try giving your student ID a whirl for reduced admissions or discounts.

Reconnect with friends

It’s easy to lose touch with the people close to us when buried under textbooks to cram, especially paired with seasonal depression symptoms. Take the time post-finals to reconnect with anyone you may have lost contact with. A simple, “Finals were crazy, I thought it’d never end! How have you been doing?” goes a long way after a brief ghosting period, and the people that matter won’t mind picking right back up where you left off.

Relax and recharge

Most important of all, take some time to yourself to get back into the swing of things post-finals. As things mellow out academically, take a morning to sleep in, make sure to eat filling meals rather than quick snacks during study breaks, and take some time to practice self-care you may have slacked on. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is nothing at all, so take some time to veg out!

Practicing self-care and taking some time to be self-indulgent while recuperating from finals is important, especially as the holidays approach. As we wrap up 2023, take some mindful moments to ensure only your best self is moving forward into the new year.

Dani is a senior at Grand Canyon University studying Professional Writing for New Media. When they aren't hunched over a computer screen typing away, they can often be found socializing with friends, explaining the latest celebrity news and drama ad nauseam or rewatching some of their favorite horror movies.