Use the break to relax

By Drew Brinker

Student Senate President

The holidays are fast-approaching and are supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation for students: three weeks off to see friends and family, catch up on hobbies, and recharge batteries before the new semester.

So, to make sure that you fully recharge yourself over the break, here are some useful techniques to help you unwind:

1. Get in touch with nature

Sometimes, all you need to do is take a walk outside (or play in the snow) to realize the value of the natural world when it comes to relaxation.

Michael Posner, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, says that there is a link between communing with nature and lowering stress levels. He says that spending time surrounded by nature ìcould do wondersî for reducing stress and worries.

2. Stimulate your mind

Another useful technique comes in the form of relaxing reading. Research conducted by Mindlab International at the University of Sussex found that reading works well as a method of relaxation. Naturally, reading reduces tension in the muscles and the heart. This is a great excuse to pick up a good book.

3. Discover mindfulness and meditation

In recent years, mindfulness, the art of staying present in the moment, has been increasingly used to help students focus in the classroom. It has also historically been used as a treatment for conditions such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD.

Practicing mindfulness and meditation does not mean picking up a yoga mat and stretching for hours (although, it can). One simple way to practice these is to take some time at the end of the day to slow down and reflect on yourself. With so much on our plate, it is easy to forget the importance of enjoying where we are at, rather than continuing to work towards the next goal.

Now that you have some techniques to use, take advantage of them over the break and give yourself the best gift you could possibly give yourself before the new year: some time to relax.