How to Keep Your Brain Active Over Winter Break

If you’re a college student, you most likely have two or more weeks off for winter break. Although your body and brain may be telling you to lay on your bed and watch Netflix, you should do things that improve your mental and physical health to enter the next semester better than the first. Although this does not have to be the main focus of your break, there are minor things you can do to make a difference. I hope these tips help you to use your winter break time productively!

Brain Games

Brain games are some of my favorite brain-working activities. Some include word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, number games, and more. I especially love word search puzzles because they can be played digitally or physically, and there are hundreds of topics to choose ranging from movie titles to state capitals. There are even apps that can be downloaded on smart devices that contain these games. If you have a friend or family member around, a fun way to play is to create a friendly competition or tournament to see who can solve the most puzzles.

Read

Although the last thing you most likely want to do over break is pick up another book, reading for leisure is a great way to ensure that your brain is still active. No, this does not mean that you have to read a 600-page book about World War II. You could read a story or non-fiction book that relates to any of your interests, hobbies, or major. You could also use the winter break to search the web and read more about your major or about other majors you may be considering. Some of my favorite things to read are realistic fiction narratives as well as magazines. Although magazines may not be the most literary, reading them is better than reading tweets.

Sleep

Most students say that sleep is the one thing they are going to catch up on the most when they return home for winter break, but is actually the one thing they end up not doing. With all the excitement of being home and getting to see friends and family, most people forget to properly rest their body. A good way to make sure that you are receiving at least six hours of sleep each night is to set an alarm clock on your phone and try to set a goal of meeting that bedtime at least five times a week. It’s okay if you miss the alarm a few times, but eventually your body will try to work off of an insufficient amount of rest and you may catch a cold. A cold is the last thing you want to be dealing with over break!

Exercise

Exercising is one of my favorite ways to keep mentally and physically healthy. You don’t have to workout for hours each day to keep healthy, but just 30 minutes to an hour a few days a week can make all the difference in how you feel. When you exercise, “feel-good” hormones are released into your brain. In addition, regular exercise also makes it easier to sleep and improves brain function as an increased amount of oxygen flows to the brain. Some of my favorite exercise machines are the treadmill, bicycle, and stair climber. In addition, I also love doing more fun activities such as hula hooping and dancing.

Cover Photo by Pixabay