Thank you, God, for the person who invented spring break.
This perfectly-timed week away from school/work always arrives just when I can’t take any more of the dreary end-of-winter weather and when summer vacation still seems light-years away.
Even though I’m a few years past college, I still take a spring break every year. One thing I’ve found is that there are things you can do over break (besides soaking up allllll the sunshine 🌞) that really help you feel, look, and be your best self all year long.
Here are a few things that you can do whether you’re heading to Cabo or planning a staycation.
Write a letter of encouragement to yourself
You’ve either just survived midterms or are taking a much needed vacation from work — either way, you deserve a pat on the back.
Spring break is the perfect time to take a step back from the stress of papers and projects and get back to feeling like yourself. Even if you’re stressed about how everything turned out, this can be an opportunity to show some self-compassion.
Do a social media following cleanse
Most of us use social media to stay connected to friends and family and stay in-the-know about things happening around the world. But I think it’s safe to say that most of us also turn to social media as a daily distraction.
This week is the perfect time to unhook yourself from the accounts that have slipped into your feed as you’ve turned to your phone to zone out. I’m talking celebrities, friends you haven’t talked to since 8th grade, and influencers trying to trick you into buying that detox tea you know they’re being paid to use.
Social media can be a healthy distraction from your work if you jump onto Instagram to find out your cousin is having a baby or to check in with your fitness crew — not so much scrolling through luxury bathrooms.
The average 18–25 year-old needs seven to nine hours of sleep. I know when I was in college, getting a full eight hours of sleep was not common.
Bad news: there isn’t much you can do to recover from a giant, long-term sleep deficit. Good news: you can definitely bounce back from the lack of sleep you got during your midterms week!
Over break, consider going to bed earlier or taking naps in the early to mid-afternoon to make up for your sleep debt from the week before.
And if you’re headed somewhere exotic and are worried about jet lag, check out these tips for minimizing the effects of a time change on your sleep cycle.
Plan out a workout routine
We all know how important exercise is to maintain physical and mental well-being. Well, idk about you, but if I don’t have a workout scheduled in my planner, there is no way it’s going to happen.
When you build time for working out into your routine ahead of time, it becomes so much easier to follow through. Looking for a place to start? Use Grotto’s free half marathon training guide that includes tangible workouts to schedule into your routine.
Schedule doctor’s appointments
- Primary care physician — Once a year, just to make sure you’re still healthy and to maintain an accurate baseline measure of health in case any red flags do arise. This is especially important as your lifestyle changes throughout your college years and in the years following.
- Dentist — Every six months to check for cavities, gum disease, and signs of oral cancer. And if you still have your wisdom teeth, your dentist will take X-rays to see how those are coming along.
- Eye doctor — Every two years to check for the four most common eye diseases: glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration — not to mention making sure your current glasses and contacts prescriptions are up to date, if you have them.
- Dermatologist — Visit once a year — and not just for acne problems. Seeing a dermatologist regularly is important so that you can get a skin-cancer screening, especially if you’re fair-skinned. That little mole might not be as harmless as it looks.
- Ladies: Gynecologist — Guidelines suggest that you should begin seeing a gynecologist at age 21. Women ages 21–29 should be screened with a Pap test every three years.
So, enjoy every moment and ray of sunshine this break! Don’t forget to make time for yourself and the people who are important to you.
Add these five simple self-care practices to your to-do list, and you’ll come home feeling better than ever.