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Mental Health

The Post-Break Slump and How to Manage It

Coming back to school from a very needed break can be hard. Whether you spent your break relaxing and watching an endless number of movies and tv or you traveled the world and experienced new foods and adventures, returning to classes, expectations, and piles of assignments is not always easy. 

Since returning to school, I personally have been very anxious. Knowing that I can’t just sit around all day and accepting the fact that I am no longer getting enough sleep is really tough. New classes with new expectations and a new routine has been really hard to adjust to, and I’ll admit it, I’m not quite there yet.

If you have been struggling with the same thoughts, getting back into a routine, and really wanting to be back at school, here are a few quick solutions. 

Call old friends

Everyone has those couple of friends that you haven’t seen in a while, because you don’t live close to each other or you don’t have classes together or because you are just busy. This is the perfect time to call those people up. Whether it’s just a phone call or a FaceTime or you make plans to study or get breakfast this coming weekend, just having the contact with someone will make you feel better. Sitting in your room doing nothing will never make you feel as good as reconnecting and having a good time. Sometimes just talking to someone from school will help you remember why you love being on campus rather than being depressed about not being at home. 

Take a nap

I know this doesn’t exactly sound like the perfect solution. Won’t it make me more tired and not as productive? Honestly, maybe, but your body is still adjusting to this new routine and the non-break amount of sleep that you usually get. Find a good time in your day (where it won’t mess up your nighttime sleep schedule) to take a quick 10-20-minute nap, 40 minutes, or a 90-minute nap. With just 10-20 minutes you will wake up feeling more energetic and less groggy when waking up. A 90-minute nap will put you through a full sleep cycle. It will be easier to wake up and will definitely leave you feeling refreshed.

Exercise

Research has shown that exercise makes you happier, and I would have to agree. As hard as it can be to motivate yourself to get out of bed and take time out of your day to go for a run or head over to the gym, it will be worth it. During exercise, your body releases endorphins. These endorphins allow your body to combat stress and by the end of a workout, you will feel much better. For me, exercising is a mood booster. When I’m not feeling great or feeling sad, going for a run leaves me in a much better mood by the end and helps me forget why I miss being at home. So try it – you may hate the idea of it, but motivate yourself one time and see how much better you feel when it’s over. 

Call your family

This option may also seem counterintuitive, especially when one of the reasons you don’t like being back at school is because you miss your family, but trust me, it can help. Everyone hates the first part of break. You go back home and have to re-learn how to live with your family again – all you want to do is come back to school. However, by the end of break, this is quite a different story. Most of the time you realize how much you miss your family and spending time with people who understand you and want to spend time with you. So, now that you’re back at school, give someone a call – your mom, sister, dad, brother, aunt, cousin, anyone. Sometimes all it takes to make you feel better is the familiarity of home and a loved one’s voice. 

Set aside time for yourself each day

Finally, find time in your day to self-reflect and relax. The hardest part of coming back to school is the stress and constant feeling of being busy. Now is the time to relax and take a deep breath every once in a while. Set up a movie night, go try that new restaurant, paint your nails, have a dance party to your favorite playlist, or just try something new. Whatever you do, make sure that it’s not causing you any more stress and let it remind you why you love being on campus. 

Although coming back to campus can be hard and frustrating, it’s important that we all remind ourselves what we love about it and try to not jump in wholeheartedly right away. The most important part about coming back is taking your time and allowing yourself to readjust. We all need a minute to breathe and collect ourselves before returning to our crazy routines. It is all about gradually coming back to reality. So take that time for yourself – you deserve it, and your mental heath deserves it too.   

A Michigan native, Madeline started writing for Her Campus in 2019. Currently a senior at the University of Michigan majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Spanish Language and Literature and is currently applying for physical therapy school. Aside from Her Campus, Madeline used to row for the University of Michigan Women's Rowing team, attends every sporting event she can (especially Football and Hockey), and loves spending time outside.
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