It’s that time of year again, we’ve gladly bid our farewells to finals, and Winter Break has arrived! Our weeks may soon be filled with parties, frantic shopping, family get-togethers, and of course, our favorite seasonal treats. Make the best out of your holiday season by maintaining and developing healthy habits so you’re ready to take on the spring semester head on!

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  • MOVE FOR MOOD: Feeling stressed around the holidays? Remember to exercise! Physical activity triggers the release of “brain happy” chemicals, such as dopamine and endorphins, which will lift your mood and leave you feeling energized, less stressed, and more relaxed. Not only that, but you’re metabolism will fire up, so you can burn off all those holiday cookies!
  • MODERATION NOT DEPRIVATION: By all means, enjoy those savory holiday indulgences! Just be conscious of how much you’re eating and how fast.  It takes your body fifteen to thirty minutes to feel full, so instead of racing through dinner to be the first to reach the dessert table, slow down and savor every bite. Trust me; the slower you eat, the more you’ll enjoy your food.
  • SLEEP WITHOUT SLACKING: It’s easy to put sleep on the back-burner during winter break with late night family get-togethers and holiday parties.  Research shows that sleep loss results in irritability, stress, and poor concentration. Who wants to feel like the Grinch during break? More importantly, late nights equal late mornings. We sometimes tend to sleep in all morning during break, staying in pajamas until dinner-time. But let’s not fall into lazy patterns! Try aiming for a consistent sleep schedule during the holidays of about 7-8 hours a night. That way, you’ll feel energized enough to actually enjoy your time off, spending your days not with your pillow, but with friends and family.
  •  HAVE SOME FUN!:  Don’t know what to do with all your free time? Break is the perfect opportunity to begin crossing off your bucket list. Never seen Rockefeller Center in NYC? Take a train up with friends or family, ice skate beneath the sparkling festive lights, and explore the city! Take advantage of the winter weather and go skiing, snowboarding, or tubing. You’ll feel accomplished that you made the best of your break through engaging in activities you’ve always wanted to do!
  • PERFECT TIME FOR PRODUCTIVITY: Make use of your break and build up your resume through volunteering at a local hospital, church, food kitchen, or nursing home. Not only will you gain professional experience, but studies show that volunteering boosts self-esteem, life satisfaction and also relieves stress.

Use winter break to start healthy habits, boost your resume, and re-charge. Take advantage of the opportunities that the upcoming weeks present you. By retaining and re-inventing healthy habits, you can start the New Year feeling healthy and refreshed!

Written by Alana Sherman, Peer Educator