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4 Ways to Decompress During Winter Break

When you’re finally done with exams, it’s tempting to spend winter break being your most slothful self. With all the stress you’ve bottled up during the semester, we don’t blame you. But sometimes indulging your lazy side isn’t as relaxing in the long run. Here are some ways to spend your winter break so you come back ready to take on a new semester:

Increase Fitness to Decrease Stress

Chronic stress from high-stakes exams may lead to an unhealthy level of cortisol in the bloodstream. Once you get home, make regular aerobic and anaerobic exercise a habit to help burn off stress and balance cortisol levels. Take a long run outside, or if you happen to live in a frozen tundra like Minnesota, try an indoor routine of push-ups and sit-ups.

Reset Your Sleep Cycle

Those late night study sessions probably scrambled your sleep/wake cycle, so use winter break’s downtime to reset your circadian clock and get on a healthy sleep schedule. Sure, it’s a bummer to wake up early when you have the option to sleep the day away, but a consistent schedule (sleep at 12AM, wake at 7:30AM, etc.) will dramatically improve your focus and memory retention in the long run. Sticking with a routine is essential to being an even better student next semester.

Discover a Hobby

Since you’re not spending your whole vacation snoozing (right?), you’ll have extra time on your hands, plus a productivity itch left over from your busy semester. Channel that can’t-stop-won’t-stop energy into a hobby you’re passionate about. Don’t have a hobby yet? Find one! Whether it’s building a computer from scratch, starting your own woodworking workshop, or writing a musical about life at a Caribbean medical school, pouring your energy into something you love will keep you sharp for next semester while recharging your battery.

Start a Yoga/Meditation Regimen                                                                                                                                          

Is waiting for final exam results making you anxious? Consider taking up yoga or meditation to ease your state of mind. Check out different types of meditation you could try and read about the experience from an AUA student’s perspective. Integrating these calming activities into your daily schedule now will help you when it’s time to return to school and all that stress inevitably bubbles up again.

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