A guide to staying happy and healthy during winter break


Sophia Schreiber

Redwood trees stand miles tall at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, just under an hour away from central Belmont. Going outside in nature is a great way to spend some free time during the break.

1. Stick to a routine

With the absence of school forcing one to get up at a certain time, it can be easy to fall into unproductive patterns. By setting and sticking to a routine such as getting up at a certain time every day, you can maximize time awake and enrich each day. Plan out when you might have each meal of the day, or pick a time to do a daily activity, such as going to the gym or reading a book.

2. Spend time with family and friends

Winter break falls over a bunch of major holidays and celebrations, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This gives you time to truly spend time with those you love, whether it’s relatives you don’t often see, a sibling returning home from college, or a friend you want to strengthen a bond with. Play some board games, watch a movie, or go on an adventure together!

3. Try something new

Free time during the break is a perfect opportunity to try something new. If you want to stay indoors, test your cooking skills and try a new recipe. Or, venture outside to discover a new spot. Maybe you have a hobby you have wanted to try for a while but haven’t found the time. Now is the chance to try it, whether it be learning to knit or discovering how to become successful in cryptocurrency.

4. Keep your brain sharp

While the stress of finals may have made you excited to get a break from school, the brain is like a muscle: it needs activity and training to perform effectively. If you study during your break, you’ll quickly adjust when you go back to school. Having no deadlines or assignments can allow you to extend and deepen your knowledge, and focus on what really interests you. Whether you are taking the SAT, ACT, or an AP test in the spring, using this time to get ahead may ultimately reduce your stress later in the school year. Check out some tips to effectively study.

5. Spend time in nature

Winter break gives students a chance to spend a lot of time at home, but how much is too much? While it is great to be able to rest up, one may get in a slump or be bored of staying inside all day. The Bay Area offers a multitude of beautiful outdoor locations with varying proximities and views. According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature is linked to both cognitive benefits and improvements in mood, mental health, and emotional well-being. Go outside and see some great sights with a family member, a friend, a pet, or just yourself.