The time after the Fall Semester ends is glorious; warm bed, beverages, food, and the delightful company of loved ones. For those that can afford it, it also means gorging on crummy Holiday-movies from the 80s and 90s to seal the wintery deal of vacation bliss.
The holidays can be stressful with the holidays in full effect and the prospect of returning to school or work. Here are some interventions to consider for yourself to implement in between the end of the semester and the start of the new one.
Between completing projects, papers, and presentations, students will sometimes overeat, fuel unhealthily (Cheetos anyone?), or stimulate themselves (Red Bull, anyone?) to make up for loss of sleep. Anyone who works in academia will probably feel the same sort of crunch.
Sleep is vital and this is your chance to catch up with some vital zzz’s that you may have missed. Build resiliency, boost your immune system, and let your mind, body, and spirit recover.
2. Give Thanks
While the holidays are a time to reflect on loved ones, it may also be healthy to give thanks to those that supported you on your journey. Thanking your support system (e.g. your family, your loved ones) builds on already-established relationships.
Classmates, colleagues, and mentors are also worth consideration to express gratitude.
- What did you get from the person?
- How was their support helpful?
- What did you learn?
- How can you reciprocate the kindness you received?
If appropriate, consider an actual “Thank You” card. They are inexpensive at some retailers-that-shall-not-be-named that sell them in bulk. They come in handy for building relationships as they are unexpected in contemporary times.
3. Revise Your Self-Care Plan
If you haven’t made a self-care plan, download one from here. With the Holidays present at the end of the semester and stress of having to deal with shopping, family, and finances, it’s important that you have a plan to get through the holidays. This can be a short-term plan to get you through the holiday season.
4. Reflect on the Previous Semester
Reflecting on the previous semester can be beneficial and healthy as you move forward with your academic career. Should you feel inclined, journaling [link to my article] might be helpful as you make sense of the triumph or cluster-fluff that just occurred.
- How are you different between the start of the just-completed semester and the end of it?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What was a challenging situation and how did you overcome it?
- How are you a better helping professional than you were before the semester?
5. Refrain From Loafing
OMG LOAFING IS THE BEST THING EVER!
Except that you might want to consider an alternative to loafing, something to get you off the couch or out of bed. Exercise might be ideal, but the object of this game is to avoid being sedentary.
- Can you walk to the store from your house?
- Can you try out some exercise (e.g. bikram yoga) that you’ve never done before?
- If it’s too cold outside, can you do indoor physical exercise?
6. Plot Out Your Next Semester’s Schedule
For a lot of us, we know exactly what classes we’re going to have in the following semester. In your planner of choice (I prefer digital), consider plotting out your:
- Classes – put in each class, week by week onto your schedule.
- Breaks – Plot out spring break and any other major holidays that may be of note for your school.
Consider going digital for your planning needs:
- iCloud is great if you have one or several iDevices.
- Google is great if you rely on the service for Gmail and/or Google Calendars.
- Here’s a link to set up Google calendar on your iDevices
7. Plot Out Your Next Semester’s Self-Care
Remember Intervention # 3 above? Rinse, wash, repeat for the coming Spring Semester!
8. Drop a Note to Your Professors
Professors are not robots, in spite of some behavior indicating otherwise; professors are human beings with the same emotions as you and I. Consider dropping them a line pre- and/or post- semester. It helps with networking and being professional, but most importantly, it fosters a relationship.
- To your old professors, send a kind email thanking them for the time you spent together and anything you might have gotten out of the class.
- To your new professors, send a kind “just saying hi” email without being pushy or having any expectations. Getting on their radar and having your name in their memory bank may be helpful.
9. Assemble Your Support System
While technically, you can get through school without a support system, why would you?
Assemble loved ones that:
- Make you laugh
- Mentor you and nourish your growth
- Inspire you and keep you motivated
- Make you feel valued and whole
10. Have an Intention for The Upcoming Semester
An intention is a statement that you make for your professional, personal, and spiritual growth and development.