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Make the Most of Winter Break

Photo up close of hands in mittens holding coffee.On December 13th, MSP students completed the first semester of the 2021-2022 academic year and began their winter break. After months of hard work it was time for a well earned break, but the break can come with its own unique challenges from managing family relationships, to planning gatherings that are still COVID-19 conscious, to worrying about being prepared for next semester. With help from PsyD student and Student Engagement Grad Assistant Hannah Riesser, we’ve complied a list of ways to make the most of winter break.

Managing Family Relationships

  • Make sure your family knows your plans and expectations for the break.
    • Are you traveling?
    • Who are you going to see and when?
    • Are there days you’re setting aside for self-care and what does that look like for you?
  • Set healthy boundaries when it comes to extended family.
    • Are there certain conversations that need to be avoided, or need to be had?
    • Determine where visitors will stay, is it okay to stay at the hosts home or are hotels needed?
  • For parents:
    • Make a plan for spending quality time with your kids while you’re both out of class. Now is a great time to make life-long memories.
    • Create a plan to maintain some semblance of routine for your children.

Planning Holiday Gatherings During COVID-19

  • Prepare steps to protect yourself and those around you.
    • If able, make sure all members of your immediate family are vaccinated.
      • Get your booster shot if eligible.
      • Don’t forget your flu shot.
    • Make sure you wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Wear your masks when in public.
  • Make plans with those who will be at the gathering ahead of time.
    • If you’re attending, make sure you determine what precautions make you comfortable and communicate that with the host.
      • How many people are attending and will there be the ability to social distance?
      • Are individuals coming vaccinated or going to be wearing a masks?
    • If you’re hosting, talk about rules ahead of time.
      • Does your group have COVID preferences? Discuss these ahead of time and share what your plans are so everyone is on the same page.
      • Speak up about your needs regarding COVID, even if that means no COVID talk at these get togethers.

Winter Break Checklist for Stress Relief and Successful Set Up for Winter Semester

  • Organize your notes from the previous semester. It takes a bit of time, but it is always good to get a big binder and sort notes, articles, and other references for easy access for future needs.
  • Start with a fresh slate on organization for the next semester.
    • Clean out your backpack.
    • Sort files on your computer
    • Review what did and did not work this semester for organization, homework assignments, and papers/projects.
      •   What can you do differently?
  • Schedule a you day.
    • Let others know that it’s a day you are unavailable for anything else and just do what you need to do. Whether that is a day on the couch watching tv or a day out with friends, take at least one day this break to do something to recharge.
  • Spend time intentionally with loved ones.

Most importantly remember to take some time for yourself and enjoy your break.

Photo of Hannah Riesser PsyDThanks again to Hannah Riesser for her contributions to this blog posting.