By Elizabeth Jones, 2020-2021 SCS Advising Leader:
Fall break is a great time to take a breath from the hectic semester, see friends and family, and even get a jump start on preparing for finals. Whether you’re having a socially distanced Thanksgiving outside or meeting with family over zoom, it will still be nice to see family and take a break from thinking about academics. It’s easy to start neglecting your health when we’ve been busy with our studies, so we should try to make the most out of this week off. This year, it’s more important than ever to use this fall break to rest and recuperate from pandemic fatigue and focus on having your health and wellness as a top priority. Wellness encompasses so many areas of our lives, so it’s important to make sure you are doing activities to promote your wellbeing. Aside from physical activity, it’s also crucial to be taking care of your mental health, emotional wellness, and even vocational wellness.
Since daylight savings time has ended and it gets dark before 5 pm, I’ve noticed it has become harder to keep track of the days. It’s become easier to fall into the routine of staying up all night studying and waking up late. Accidently sleeping in means that there’s even less time to experience the sunlight and it feels like the day has been wasted. Though the weather is a little cold and dreary, I’ve found that spending time outdoors is the best way to make the most of each day and stay strong during the semester. Going for short walks outside in the fresh air, and getting some much-needed vitamin D, helps me to feel energized. Getting active is as easy as taking a longer, more scenic route whenever you go out to the store or to get tested. Other ways to stay physically active within the comfort of your apartment are through yoga, stretching, and breathing exercises, all of which can be done by following simple tutorials on YouTube.
The ever-present stress of college coupled with adjusting to a mostly virtual semester has disrupted our normal routine. Nowadays it’s much easier to feel over-worked or “burned-out” and difficult to stay motivated. It’s important to have a strong support system behind you to help you keep steadfast in your studies and keep your morale high. Whether it’s through the Counseling Center, McKinley, or friends and family, developing a space where you can talk openly with people who support you and validate your emotions is important for your mental and emotional health.
Vocational wellness is not often thought of but plays a big part in our anxiety and stress about the future. For many of us, our GPA may take a hit this semester and cause us increased worry about our futures: whether it’s applying to graduate school, landing a summer internship, or trying to find a job immediately after graduation. When I feel overwhelmed about what will happen after this semester, I find it helpful to remind myself that college students and business professionals are both struggling. Academic and professional institutions have become more flexible with their requirements and have developed a better understanding of the challenges we face in a virtual semester. I also find it beneficial to focus on some of the positive things you can do for your career during quarantine. Since many Americans are working from home right now, this is a great opportunity to look into career prospects and start networking. Something as simple as connecting with alumni through LinkedIn and asking for informational interviews to learn more about potential jobs of interest can greatly improve your motivation and give you reassurance for the future.
No matter where you are for Thanksgiving or what your winter break will look like, be sure to set aside time to relax and recuperate. Don’t stress too much over finals and remember that the most important thing is your health and wellbeing, not your GPA.
Some helpful resources and services: