During school breaks and the holidays, you may go back home, visit friends and family, or you may stay on campus. Either way, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) would like to provide you with a toolkit, tips, and suggestions to help you build a restorative break. College can be challenging and our energy levels may feel depleted. If you feel emotionally or physically drained by adapting to the increasing demands of your academic, personal, financial, and emotional life, take some time during break to re-energize and feel ready for the next semester.
If we are not intentional about adding restorative activities to our routine, time may fly by without us noticing it! For that reason, planning ahead can be really helpful.
Incorporate one to two self-nurturing activities every day and develop a routine during your break by setting calendar times and phone reminders for individual self-care, or practice self-care activities with a friend. Additionally, you should take advantage of the WellTrack app to schedule fun activities and track your achievements.
The video below (Safety, Predictability, and Control in Times of Crisis) can give you some great ideas about why planning and having structure in your day can be a helpful coping mechanism.
Stress can negatively impact your emotional and physical health, so it is important to be mindful of your personal stressors as red flags. This makes it easier to determine when you need to engage in self-nurturing activities that can alleviate some of your stress. These red flags can be seen as necessary reminders that it’s time to reflect on our physical and emotional demands.
Take some of CAPS mental health well-being self-assessments to get suggestions on stress-coping mechanisms that best fit your needs! The WellTrack app also has self-assessments to help you gauge where you are in terms of mood and stress.
This year has been challenging, being kind and understanding with yourself will not change those challenges, but will help you increase self-compassion. On the contrary, self-criticism will increase self-doubt and may impact your mood in a negative way.
Review this short article on self-compassion and use the WellTrack app "Thought Diary" tool to revisit thinking patterns that may lead to self-criticism.
Reflect on some past experiences that have been challenging for you. What helped you navigate those overwhelming moments? What are some self-soothing techniques you already know and practice? If you’re looking for alternative self-soothing practices, here’s a list of techniques you could potentially use.
Practice relaxation exercises using the "Zen Room" feature on the WellTrack app.
Distract yourself, schedule fun activities that are safe and COVID-friendly. Some ideas include: reading books, playing games, taking a walk, watching TV, completing a puzzle, organizing your living space, etc.
Manage your exposure (and over-exposure) to social media and news during the day.
Always address your basic living necessities: try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, maintain a balanced diet, give a timed structure to your day, engage in some level of physical activity, and foster your emotional connections with others.