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

The Holidays: a time when Oles are stretched thin among finals, Christmas Fest and the dreaded cold and flu season. Where can we find time to breathe? Oftentimes students with busy schedules do not think they deserve to take breaks. They work hard on academics and other means of measurable success and in turn neglect their mental, physical and spiritual health. You should never feel guilty for resting, having fun or treating yourself to something great. You deserve to take a break and enjoy yourself regardless of if your paper is finished (or even started). 

Granted, your work has to get done at some point. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to discern healthy procrastination from plain old laziness.

How long have I been sitting down and nearly immobile? 

Studies show that our society’s sedentary lifestyle contributes to poor health and pure exhaustion. If you have been sitting in the library for over two hours, it’s time to walk around. Once you get moving again, grab coffee with a friend, exercise, have a dance party, take a cat nap or turn on some Netflix. Do whatever makes you happy, because sitting and doing all of your work at once will certainly not fulfill your wellbeing.

 Is this procrastination, or am I just doing something I love?

Clarification: just because an activity is not homework does not mean it is procrastination. Non-academic activities earn an equally important place in your Google calendar. To keep yourself from skipping out on activities that you love, put them in your calendar right next to the dreaded “Chemistry Exam” or “Group Study Session.” If you love to run, go to Chapel or have an hour-long dinner with close friends, write it into your life! Make it official and acknowledge the value of making a habit out of your passions.

Does this activity contribute to some aspect of my health (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.)? 

Granted, most things you do could be justified as beneficial. Laughing and hanging out with friends is necessary for mental well being, walking aimlessly around Target for hours contributes to physical health, and most definitely napping could be considered a spiritual blessing. If you are quick to judge yourself for wasting time, frame the scenario in such a way. If the procrastination is contributing to your health and happiness in some way, it can’t be so bad. 

Photos: Tired with studying, Running, Cat nap