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How to Make the Most of Your Winter Break

Winter break is coming mercifully quickly, and Lord knows everyone deserves a breather after this quarter. That being said, Seattle University gives us three weeks off (thanks quarter system!) and while chilling out and doing nothing certainly is appealing, it can get old after three weeks. Personally, I’m a little dissatisfied if I feel like I haven’t taken advantage of my break from school to do other things. If you feel the same way, consider doing some of the following to spruce up the winter break in between your Netflix sessions.

 

‘Tis the season for giving, and why not give your time by volunteering? I guarantee you, you will never regret spending your time bettering your community. Check-in with local non-profits or community centers to see if there’s anything you can do. Remember, long-time commitments are better than drop-in volunteering, so if you can, volunteering at the same organization over the course of break may be more rewarding than once at several locations. If you’re staying in Seattle for break, you may discover a program that you can build a great relationship with.

 

If you can’t find any programs/events you’d like to participate in, you could always help out closer to home. Help an elderly person shovel snow from the driveway, or help set up Christmas decorations. Or maybe help your family cook dinner.

Earn some cash for next quarter. If you’re in need of some student loans/textbook/coffee funds, earning some cash over break might be beneficial. You could take on more hours than you can during the quarter, or you can just enjoy working without having to do homework afterward. Many stories hire workers for the seasonal time, so you may be able to score something there. If you can’t work or want to spend your time not working, beef up your resume with any experience you’ve gotten over fall quarter (I know that’s what I’ll be doing). The job hunt never stops.

 

Pick up a new hobby, or spend time on one you don’t have time to during school. One thing I love to do is jam out to My Chemical Romance and other bops on my guitar, but this past quarter I haven’t even touched my guitar because I have been so busy. And when I have a free moment, I usually just want to veg out, which is totally valid. But during break, I can spend time doing things I love while still being able to veg. The best of both worlds, I’d say. Plus, this gives me enjoyment, but I also get an end product that makes me feel accomplished. May I suggest: coloring books (they have ones for adults now that I find more entertaining than my old Disney princess coloring book), arts and crafts (there’s some fun holiday/winter ones out there!), learning a new language, or updating your playlists.

 

If none of those sound good, you could always read! I’m a big advocate for reading for pleasure. Being able to have a past-time that doesn’t include social media makes me feel calmer and so much more centered. And again, that finished book is a tangible end-product that reminds me I accomplished something with my time. There are so many books out there--fiction, memoirs, how-to's, poetry, art, cooking, that I’m positive everyone can find something that they find engaging. If you’re not a reader, then maybe read some positive news. There’s a lot of bad going on in our world, but there’s also a lot of good. Keeping up with good news keeps you educated and inspired. An article a day can keep the pessimism away!

 

Be proactive. Take care of yourself. I know that I tend to let my health and person well-being go, especially during finals, and winter break can be the perfect opportunity for some renewal so I can return to school revitalized. This can include taking time to relax and pamper yourself, but self-care isn’t just something you buy in the form of a face mask and some candles. Taking time to take care of less-fun-but-just-as-important tasks that you may have neglected during the quarter can be a great way to feel ready to take on winter quarter. Sleeping, eating healthy, and exercising are all things that get pushed to the wayside, and winter break gives you some leeway to practice good habits before adjusting to new classes. I know I’m making sure I don’t sleep in too late this break so getting up for my 8 AM next quarter won’t be so jarring. Being able to practice this before actually getting up for my morning classes will ensure that I feel prepared and ready to take on 8 AM Ecological Psychology (or as prepared as one can be for so much information at that ungodly hour).

 

I hope the message of this isn’t that you need to take on all of these in order to make your winter break productive. Hell, you don’t even need to be productive during break, it’s called a break for a reason, and school brings a crazy amount of stress and responsibilities that are not sustainable 24/7. Everyone needs a break from that. However, I hope I’ve made a case for viewing winter break as a time where you can pick something you want to do and do it, not waiting for the new year or a new quarter in order to push all this new change on yourself. Take some time for yourself, do something you enjoy, and happy vegging!

 

Alexandra is a sophomore at Seattle University who is studying psychology and women and gender studies. She enjoys discussing environmental rights, music, and her beautiful golden retriever, Leo.
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