Every February, Canadian university students are given a week off from classes. While the week was created to give students a chance to catch up on readings that they’ve most likely been putting off since January (hence “reading” week), it has also become connected to mental health awareness. The week allows students to take time to care for their mental health and de-stress. Although it’s nice to get away or head back home to spend time with family and friends, not everyone is able to do so. Some might even have a little more school work than just reading to work on. This year, I’m one of those that will be spending reading week alone, and with more than just reading to get done.
For the past few years, I’ve gone on vacation or met up with my parents to go on a weekend trip across the border. Getting away from my normal setting and being around other people who aren’t in school has always forced me to take a step back from any work I needed to get done, but this year I’m alright with staying at home.
Despite the workload and the potential for cabin fever, I’m not disappointed by being “stuck” at home alone for a whole week. As an introvert, I enjoy quiet spaces and having time to myself is always something that I appreciate. Ironically, being alone for a week isn’t lonely, rather I find it to be productive and relaxing. While I’d love to succumb to laziness and procrastinate during the break, keeping a schedule allows me to maintain a balance between school work and more relaxing activities, as well as make sure that I don’t stress myself out mentally.
Ideally, my reading week schedule has looked like this:
- Snooze my alarm (minimum of two times) and then get up to shower and have breakfast
- Work on assignments for 2-3 hours
- Take a lunch break and watch some TV (or nap)
- Try and do some reading for 1-2 hours and set my phone aside
- Take a dinner break
- Try not to do any school work past 9pm and settle down with some tea and a movie
Going on vacation or getting to spend more time with family and friends is great, but getting to sleep in because it’s quiet in the mornings is also lovely. Going to the bar or out for dinner with friends can be fun, but ordering a pizza and curling up on the couch for a Netflix marathon is just as enjoyable. Spending most of the week alone can seem mind-numbing to some people, but for others, having a low-key break is something to look forward to.
If you’re spending the reading week alone like me, try to make the most of the “you” time. Whatever you may be doing this reading break, I hope you enjoy yourself!