C/O Travis Nguyen
While the holiday season may be welcomed, the extreme shift to total relaxation can cause us to “crash”
By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor
The holiday season is often a welcomed time off for many, especially students who face their exams period immediately prior to the break. However, given that we are exceptionally busy beforehand, the decrease or change in responsibilities can be a shock to our system.
Although we certainly deserve the rest after busy and stressful times, we must balance that with different endeavours and activities to ensure that we are not putting ourselves in significantly contrasting environments. Such an approach will allow us to get the most out of the holiday break and return to school and work with a renewed sense of motivation.
Many individuals become acclimated to such high levels of productivity, particularly students who must balance their school work, extracurriculars and other endeavours on top of maintaining their health and social lives. In the moment, we often fail to realize how much of our energy is coming from the sheer adrenaline of all our obligations, likely alongside copious amounts of caffeine.
Thus, when we take a break from such a hectic lifestyle, the drastic drop in our stressors often leave us feeling drained and lethargic, a phenomenon often called ‘adrenal fatigue.’ In fact, going from one extreme to another — overworking to completely resting — could leave us feeling worse off.
We need to find a place in the middle of this continuum that will allow us to recharge without radically lowering our adrenaline levels.
There are a variety of activities and methods that can allow individuals, no matter their specific interests, to find this balance. For example, some hobbies can be both restful and stimulating to the brain and body at the same time.
Reading, exercising and listening to or playing music all have beneficial effects on the body and mind, but are not as taxing as arduous readings or complex essay prompts. Moreover, social interactions can be highly energizing for some individuals, especially after being deprived of them during the pandemic. It not only has physiological benefits since humans are naturally social creatures, but it also helps abate feelings of loneliness and isolation that can be extremely draining on a person. Finding solidarity in finally getting a break after a long semester can also be a great bonding tool among students!
Of course, such approaches will vary for everyone. Some people who are more introverted may find that individual activities are a better way to stay occupied without creating overbearing stressors during the holidays.
Furthermore, one cannot expect every day of the break to be the same. Our energy levels fluctuate constantly and we need to respond as needed. This may mean being outside and active with friends for one day and then deciding to stay in for a movie marathon by yourself on another.
So long as we are not keeping ourselves on one end of the spectrum for a prolonged period of time, we can find a healthy equilibrium between complete rest and the hustle of our daily life.
In sum, although the holidays may seem like the perfect time to fully recharge, we have to balance such rest with engaging activities to ensure that we do not completely crash. Given the spirit of the season, reaching out to loved ones and peers, finding new or old forgotten hobbies or simply taking what comes with the day can allow one to reach this balance.
Take care of yourself and those around you and you will come back with a new vigour for a successful next term!