Longer Thanksgiving break beneficial for student health

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GRAPHIC BY SARAH BRADY / THE FLAT HAT

Coming back to campus after Thanksgiving is hard. All the papers and exams have been pushed out of my mind only to resurface with the harsh reality that there are only two more weeks left of school, and then come final exams. Joy!

What first hits me when I come back to campus is the feeling that I never left. Did I even go home? Did I even get a chance to rest? The three days we get off of school fly by so quickly that I forget what I did while I was away from campus. The solution: more days off. When I arrived at my 9:30 a.m. class on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break, it seemed that half of the class had agreed beforehand not to come to class. I was envious of them and critical of myself. I easily could have not come and left the day before, but instead, I sat in class not paying attention because I was wondering why I was still there.

In the same class, my professor told us that we should have that Tuesday off as well. I think it would be better if the whole week was regarded as vacation for students. Travel is hard enough, and during the holidays finding tickets can be nearly impossible. A full week off gives students plenty of time to find ways to get home without worrying about missing classes, and more time to breathe. From midterms to finals, Thanksgiving break is the time for re-energizing, getting back to a good sleeping pattern and spending time with families or loved ones. These activities take more than four days. Because we do not have that many days off, focus shifts to how to prepare for the next upcoming obstacle: finals.

Besides the obvious tasks of keeping organized, making a study schedule and reviewing notes, the main thing not to forget about in the weeks leading up to finals and finals week itself is self-care. Over vacation, I felt overwhelmed thinking about the work I had to do, in addition to the exams I needed to study for. I realized I needed to step back and breathe; the time that I use to focus on my mental and physical health helps me the most when I feel stressed.

That starts with making sure I have time at the end of my day to take a shower, which makes me take the time to go through my entire nightly routine. I have noticed that I feel worse on the days when I decide to skip my shower to stay up later and finish my homework.

Taking a shower not only helps me be hygienic, but it removes me from the clouded headspace at my desk. I can play music and jam in the shower, releasing stress through Beyoncé and Lorde.

This is simply an example of something I do to de-stress, and I know everyone has a different self-care routine. Just because Thanksgiving break is over does not mean relaxation is. Especially with finals coming up, remember to take care of yourselves and do not forget that winter break is less than a month away.

Email Isabella Miranda at immiranda@email.wm.edu.