Holiday breaks can be a much-needed rest from a busy semester schedule, but stressful family gatherings, heavy meals and days on end with nothing to do may leave students more restless than rejuvenated.
Even if your Thanksgiving holiday was less than relaxing, it’s not too late to make sure the most wonderful time of the year lives up to its name.
Ashley Broadwater, a senior studying public relations, is co-chairperson of Embody Carolina, an on-campus organization that teaches students how to be compassionate allies for individuals with eating disorders.
“Around the holidays, there’s a lot of focus with families on someone’s weight changes, or how much they’re eating,” Broadwater said. “We want to shift the conversation to being thankful for what our bodies can do.”
Broadwater said family members should work to ensure everyone feels comfortable around the dinner table, and that no is shamed for their weight or eating habits.
“Eliminating weight talk, not moralizing food as good or bad, things like that,” Broadwater said.
Too much quality time
Mitchell Smith, a UNC alumnus who graduated in 2015, currently lives and works in Raleigh. Though Smith is no longer a UNC student, his schedule tends to include holiday breaks. Smith said he sometimes feels overstimulated after a trip to visit friends or family over the holidays.
“You’re just trying to pack everything into a few limited days, and trying to see all the family that you can and do all the fun things that you want to do,” Smith said.
Smith said he often relaxes once he’s back in his routine after a long trip to see family or friends.
“There’s just always a lot going on, which is good, and I enjoy it, but at the same time it definitely can drain you and it’s important to go home and have some time to relax a little bit,” Smith said.
Too much free time
Victoria Schandevel is a senior studying political science. Schandevel struggles with the opposite problem as Smith during breaks.
“That idle time is good for a few days, but then after a few days it starts getting too much, to the point where I get stir crazy and then little things can consume my whole thought process because I don’t have anything else that I really need to think about,” Schandevel said. “Little anxieties that I wouldn’t really have time to worry about other days become more of a burden or issue during the holidays just because I have so much free time on my hands.”
Schandevel said she calls up her best friend to grab lunch or bothers her brother to keep herself occupied when a break from school starts to feel long.
Breaks from school are necessary, but some students may struggle to get the rest they need during them. Scheduling a few fun things while not spreading yourself too thin and being respectful of family and friends, including around the dinner table, are a few ways to get the most out of a break.
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