How to Refresh Your Mind Over Winter Break
Just what is the best way to refresh your brain while also remaining sharp for the spring term?
By Andrea Deck, Varsity Tutors’ Contributor
December 02, 2014
After the long fall semester, with its difficult assignments and stresses, it is important to allow your body and your mind to rest. But just what is the best way to refresh your brain while also remaining sharp for the spring term?
Here are four possibilities to consider as you approach winter break:
Let us be realistic for a moment – you likely did not sleep for eight full hours each evening of the semester. Perhaps you were completing a project or simply hanging out with friends.
Whatever your reason (or reasons), aim to return to a normal sleep schedule during winter break. Indulge in that nap that you have been looking forward to, but also retire to bed at a reasonable, regular hour.
And remember – sleep can positively affect your focus and recall, which you will need come mid-January!
Turn your electronics off
Winter break is relatively short, so maximize its days. Set aside time to participate in a fun activity that does not involve your television, smartphone, laptop, or any other electronic device. Why would you do as much when you can finally try to conquer that video game or binge-watch your favorite television show? The lights and movement of electronic devices can strain your eyes and mind. Turn them off for at least several hours to rejuvenate those muscles.
Consider spending time outside (i.e. hiking, ice skating, sledding, etc.) or playing a board game with your family or friends.
Altering your usual routine, which includes hours sitting at a desk and a great deal of time working in front of a computer, is one of the best ways to revitalize your brain!
Avoid over-committing yourself
When you finally have the free time that you have been lacking over the course of the semester, it can be all too tempting to overbook yourself.
Hold on tightly to your self-control and permit yourself the necessary time to unwind from the fall term and to prepare for your next semester.
Do not sacrifice those activities that entertain you, but acknowledge that hurrying through each day to complete 10 different activities is hardly relaxing.
Exercise active reflection
The most effective way to remember important information, or to move content into your long-term memory, is to actively recall it. Rather than burying the past term in your mind, reflect on the key units you discussed in class, the large projects you completed, and any other important highlights.
This will not only help you identify your strengths and weaknesses during the fall semester, but it will also solidify your learning. Though it may not always seem like it, much of the content that you encounter later in college will be critical to your future. Do not simply throw it away now!
Whatever your plans are for winter break, it is crucial to devote some time to giving your brain a much needed and deserved reprieve. Take a nap, go outside, relax, and reflect. This might just be the perfect recipe for a clear head to start the next semester with vitality!
Andrea Deck is a professional GRE tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She is a graduate student at Columbia University in the class of 2015.
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