Winter break is a much needed relief after the intensifying stress of the latter part of fall semester. Getting off campus or leaving your college apartment and forgetting about papers and exams, spending time with family and friends, eating home cooked food and sleeping in - glorious. So when it’s over - and, unfortunately, that’s now - it’s difficult to get back into the swing of things. The coming months of more work and less play can be daunting. Here are 4 easy tips to help make the switch from break to school go more smoothly:
- Get back into a regular routine. While your class schedule may vary from day to day, you will be healthier and more productive if you get up and go to bed at the same time. This doesn’t have to be 6 AM and 9 PM, but take into account that humans are diurnal, not nocturnal animals. They are meant to be more active during the day, and to get significant amounts of sleep. Remember, this is winter, which means your body requires more sleep to be able to fight off colds and flus and function effectively.
- Taper off the binge eating and drinking. You may be craving sweets and carbs, but they will create a roller coaster out of your energy levels, affecting your ability to remain alert and creative. Add more meat and vegetables to your diet and eat at regular hours to avoid crashing at odd hours. Drink plenty of water and tea. Your body needs to remain hydrated even if you aren’t sweating as much as you do in warmer seasons.
- Add some kind of exercise to your daily habits - your waistline and your mood will thank you if you keep moving, and you will feel more energetic overall. At this time of year it’s easy to feel isolated or like you have “cabin fever.” Invite a friend to walk with you or hit the gym. Or go ice skating or skiing together. It may be cold, but the fresh air is still good for you and helps clear your mind.
- Ease back into the studying. Fortunately, for most students, the beginning of the semester is the easiest part anyway. See if there is anyone friendly looking in your new classes that you might introduce yourself to as a potential study partner (or friend). Studying with a friend is more fun than studying alone and much more productive than watching cable or zoning out online.
The hardest part of getting back into the swing of things is just getting into the swing. But it has to be done. In a few weeks, you’ll be busy again with projects and group work and socializing. For now, remember, all of this has a purpose and a positive function: developing strengths and the overall bettering of yourself. Have a great winter semester 2014.