We all love to spend the break having fun and savoring every moment of home-cooked meals and no responsibilities.  However, sometimes it can be really tough to come back to school in January if you’ve spent the past three weeks waking up at 10 AM.  Here are just a few ways that I’ve found help me stay healthy and productive, yet still allow for an extremely relaxing holiday season.

Make a plan
The best way to make your Christmas productive and relaxing is to make a plan!  It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but in the evening, think about what you want to accomplish the next day, what time you will wake up, and make a rough schedule.   This is a great strategy because you don’t have to fill your plate with more than you want, but you can certainly accomplish a lot of tasks now that you have so much time on your hands!  Don’t sleep the day away unless you go to bed super late, and try to maintain some type of routine, even though it can be tough.

I know this sounds like the last thing you want to do while you’re all warm and curled up with your dog, but there are some super fun ways to get moving and sweating! Go out with your siblings for a hike or trail jog if there’s a warm enough day, or maybe even hit the gym for a little bit in the morning.  Exercise can be a great way to bring the family or friends together – meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while and try a kickboxing class together.  You could take the train into the city and just walk for a few miles, a sure fire way to feel ready for bed by the end of the day!  Getting your heart rate up and your blood pumping also gives your metabolism a boost for the rest of the day, minimizing the damage done by that fresh batch of cookies your mom will be pulling out of the oven.

Keep track of what you consume 
This may sound like overkill for the holiday season, but there’s some real truth to the importance of breakfast and veggies.  Make sure your meals are all balanced and spaced out correctly, that way you don’t undereat or overeat at any given time of the day.  This will help you stay full, eat less, and still allow you to enjoy reasonable amounts of your holiday favorites.

Stimulate your mind
During the semester, I am way too busy for watching Netflix, so my plans this break will definitely consist of all of Stranger Things season two.  I totally understand the urge to pull up Netflix at every free moment, but skip the season-long binge watching sessions and fill your time with other brain-stimulating activities as well.  This could include games with your family, practicing an instrument, learning a new recipe, or taking up a new hobby.

~Maya Neal