Check in with Yourself:
We have so much agency within ourselves that we don’t do ourselves justice by complying with any sort of distraction or pressure that is unnecessary. After a semester, we may feel like we have to complete a million and a half tasks but in reality we may need to find ways to focus on physical and our mental fitness. There is no rule that says you have to be busy 24/7.
—What you want to do
—What you need to do
—What you should do
You will be able to better negotiate with yourself once you clearly have these three separated out.
Relaxing Guilt Free:
I think there is an unspoken pressure that everyone feels they must be busy with so many things in order to feel satisfied with life. However, part of the balance in a satisfied life is giving yourself that time to relax. Relaxation is key to self-preservation so that when we get back to work or life as usual we can give ourselves more fully to our journey, tasks and goals. Relaxation can come in the form of meditation, exercise, time alone or anything that allows you to let your mind/spirit free itself from stress. Love yourself enough to know that relaxation isn’t inhibition, selfishness, or compliance but rather a pivotal step in efforts to avoid burn-out.
The next step is to be realistic to yourself.
If you’re taking a fun trip to the Caribbean or going to your Grandma’s house that still somehow uses dial-up internet, I think it’s okay to be honest with yourself and realize that you’re not going to get work done. On the other hand, if you have a couple of projects due- you know you have to dedicate a good chunk of your break on these projects. Basically, you know yourself the best as well as your schedule and what you’re capable of doing.
Post-Realization, Create your IDP:
Of course, if you realize that you needed a serious vacation to veg out and do nothing (and you have the means to do it), then by all means stop reading here and begin your relaxing vacation right away! However, got some goals to accomplish? Create your own Individual Development Plan (IDP). An IDP should have these aspects:
—Room for adjustments if necessary
—Consideration of time and pace
—Time allotted for fun or self-care
For reference or help with an IDP, http://www.scientistafoundation.com/lifestyle-blog/how-to-perfect-your-individual-development-plan. Once your IDP is complete - do your best to follow through with it!
Reflection doesn’t have to be a grand slam event but it should be one of the steps in any process or project. Ask yourself:
— Did you spend winter break how you wanted to spend it?
— Do you feel mentally/physically charged and ready to go back to business?
— How can you incorporate these habits and/or what you learnt that you needed in order to recharge.
As much as I would like to say “in order to have a great winter break you just need to follow these three easy steps!!” Everyone’s needs, goals, wants and ultimately lives are different. Create a plan for winter break that suits you!
About the Author
Andi Packheiser was born in Dallas, Texas, where she attended Townview’s Science and Engineering Magnet. Andi graduated from the University of Texas Austin with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Psychology. Although Andi is not a Scientista in a traditional sense, she is a huge advocate for critical thinking and pushing boundaries. When Andi is not working on her technical writing or with animals, she enjoys reading, road trips, concerts, and bad jokes.