How To Take a Load Off This Winter Break

Finals are looming over your exhausted shoulders, and it’s a wonder you’ve been getting any sleep at all. With winter break just around the corner, though, it’s important to keep your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel. Just think of all the relaxing (read: sleeping) you’ll be able to do over break!

As you come up for air from your many textbooks and research papers to read this article, start planning on how you’ll de-stress yourself in time for home sweet home! And if that sounds like work to you, don’t worry! It basically involves eating and staying warm.

Doesn't this picture just croon relaxation softly into your ear? | Courtesy of Yasmin Gentry
Doesn’t this picture just croon “relaxation” softly into your ear? | Photo courtesy of Yasmin Gentry

FOOD:

Studies prove that eating dark chocolate helps reduce stress, so I mean, if I have to…

If consuming that many calories is what gets you stressed, you can also try avocado (they don’t call it a super food for nothing), berries, and drinking tea. Incorporating some of these foods into your holiday menu is also a great way to combine a relaxing snack with a fun activity (unless cooking also stresses you out, in which case, DON’T COOK).

Combining the relaxing chemical properties of berries with the soothing scent of candles. Genius. | Courtesy of Flickr user Eva the Weaver
Combining the relaxing chemical properties of berries with the soothing scent of candles. Genius. | Photo courtesy of user Eva the Weaver via Flickr

SCENTS:

Candles also help soothe the soul with their pacifying aroma and their ability to turn any room into a warm, cozy shelter from the cold. Try candles with the scent of lavender, coconut, or peppermint for a universally appealing effect. If you have a scent that hits you right in the heart, though (mine is cinnamon), then fire it up and enjoy!

If baking calms you down, please make me a batch of these | Photo courtesy of Emily Payne
If baking calms you, please feel free to make me a batch of these | Photo courtesy of Emily Payne

WHAT TO DO:

So far you’ve eaten and inhaled. That doesn’t sound like such a bad break, but we do have a few weeks to enjoy, so maybe we should do something? If this idea offends you, please feel free to just repeat steps one and two. If not, turn on some soothing music (I prefer Michael Buble’s Christmas album) and lay down with that book you’ve been dying to read all semester but didn’t have the time.

Still not active enough? Studies show that exercise, no matter how strenuous, helps relieve stress.

Getting active can help, but don't work yourself too hard this break! | Courtesy of Flickr user Stu Bailey
Getting active can help, but don’t work yourself too hard this break! | Courtesy of Flickr user Stu Bailey

Whether you prefer to go for a run, take your dog for a long walk, or try yoga, getting active can help both your body and your sanity. Note: For those severely affected by finals and grade deflation, you may want to try something more aggressive such as kickboxing.

CONCLUSION:

We all have to work hard during finals—it’s an unfortunate fact of life. To reward yourself, spend winter break doing what will bring a smile to your face. Joy rides with friends, Christmas movies, naps twice a day; if it makes you happy, winter break is the time to do it. In just one more week all of these fantasies can become a reality! Finish strong!

Beth St. John

Beth St. John

Beth St. John is an English major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She was born and raised in New Jersey but now happily calls Boston home. When she's not reading a book or watching a movie she's probably eating copious amounts of chocolate.

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