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College Students: Take Time for Your Mental Health During Winter Break

Winter break will probably be quite different this year for many college students. Some may be headed home to family after living near campus, some may be staying close to campus, and some have been living at home family this whole semester.

Whether you’re adjusting to living at home again, bored with less to do, or facing a rather lonely holiday away from family and friends, be sure to take time for your mental health this winter break. It is important to relax and recharge.

Here are some ways to help you do that:

Start with a Mental Health Plan

People often experience increased mental health issues around the holidays. You certainly aren’t alone, especially this year. According to a recent survey, Gen-Z adults (ages 18 to 23) reported the highest levels of stress compared to other generations. They were also the most likely age group to report symptoms of depression.
  • If you are currently in treatment, work with your provider on ways to best support yourself over winter break.
  • If you are not in treatment, this break can give you time to focus on yourself, how you’re feeling, and what support you might need moving forward.

Manage Your NEW Free Time

At first, the extra time feels like a gift! But the sudden switch to having lots of time on your hands can be a struggle. Here are some suggestions to effectively manage your free time to enhance your mental health:
  • Do healthy things that make you feel good
  • Find a hobby, like photography, perhaps
  • Read fun, entertaining books
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Bake or create culinary delights
  • Discover new music

Spend time outside

Spending time outside is great for your mental health. Taking walks, hikes, and generally spending time in nature reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. So, bundle up, get outside and get moving after the long semester indoors chained to your computer.

Exercise

Like time outdoors, exercise also significantly helps your mental health and overall well-being. So while we do encourage you to rest and recharge, an hour of daily exercise can help reduce anxiety, stress, and even depression. So, rest your mind while you work out, go for a run, do yoga, bike, or some kind of physical movement that gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping. Or get a little adventurous and try snowboarding or something you’re interested in.

Be "Screen-Free" for a Day

Take one day a week to live as much as possible without electronic devices or TV screens. Doing this gives you an opportunity to be present, creative, and to explore the different ways you can spend your time.

Stay Connected

While being screen-free for a day has its benefits, you may need to stay connected with friends virtually this year. And that’s OK. You need your friends, and they need you. So do your best to stay in touch, but give yourself and them some space as well. Just find the right balance.

Whatever winter break brings, please reach out if you need help or support.

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