managing stress

Take your breaks before they’re gone!

Managing Your Stress

Part One: Overscheduled and Overwhelmed

Topic: breaks and vacations

As a college student, I get some pretty awesome breaks from school

  • a month off for winter break
  • a whole semester off in the summer
  • a week for spring break
  • and if I’m lucky … a long weekend for fall break

Now, I could sign up for all kinds of trips and activities during my breaks, but I’m a firm believer in using them for they’re intended purpose: A BREAK!

If you’re like me and do more than just go to school, you’re probably in desperate need of a break. So before you sign up for a summer or winter class, shell out the money for a study abroad trip, or agree to spend your time off volunteering in another country, step back and assess how you’re feeling as the semester winds down.

Did you feel overwhelmed in the last few weeks? Did you utter “I have no free time” recently? Did you wonder when the last time that you saw your friends and family was? Have you been using the hope of a break to pull you through until the end of the semester?

If so, maybe taking a break on your break isn’t such a bad idea.

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It’s easy to view free time as currency. You want to spend it on all kinds of unique and beneficial experiences, but sometimes it’s best to just let it sit in your bank account and accrue its penny of interest — that penny may prove to have great value.

Consider using your break to catch up with old friends or to take a trip with your family; consider using your break to watch all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls on Netflix; consider using your break to get through the stack of books you never have time to read during the semester.

If you’re caught in a jam and have to take a class or need to get a job, don’t overdo it. Take only the class you need; work only a few days a week. Make sure that you still give yourself more time than usual to relax during the week and even during the day.

time

You can’t go go go 365 days a year.

The standard vacation time for working adults is two weeks — far less than other countries — and that’s barely enough time to unwind from the stress of a job in the fast-paced world.

For four beautiful years, you have way more than just those two weeks, so use the time while you can!

I know how stressful being in college is. Class time, homework, studying and my internship put me at way more than 40 hours a week. Then, add in the fact that I’m a long-distance runner and in a committed relationship. Poof! There goes most of the hours in my day.

In the very first post of this series, I talked about organization, but sometimes I just can’t deal with writing out my whole life.

relaxing

I want time to watch stupid shows on TV; I want time to stare at the ceiling and contemplate life. I just want to have nothing at all scheduled and feel perfectly content with that.

Yeah, I took a winter class during my very last winter break. I had to, and since it was only three weeks long, the workload was pretty intense. However, before the class started, I spent time in Breckenridge, Colorado, with my family. I gave up on skiing after a morning lesson but spent the rest of the trip sleeping in, snow shoeing, and walking up and down Main Street. No, I wasn’t able to take my whole winter break, but I took my two weeks. I had a great week leading up to Christmas (hello, I got engaged!), and I spent the following week with family members who I only see once or twice a year. I took those two weeks off from the part-time job I had at the time, and I just let myself enjoy the holidays. I came back from Colorado rested and ready to tackle the winter and spring semesters.

So take your breaks now before you’re suffering from a panic attack or are severely ill because you never let yourself rest.

Once you’re in relaxation mode, it won’t be that hard to on keep doing nothing … trust me.

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When was your last break? How did you spend your time?

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