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How to Spend College Winter Break at Home

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Spending winter break at home after being at college for a few months can be an intense transition; get through it with these survival tips!

Nothing beats the feeling of total freedom that comes over you when you take your last exam or turn in that final term paper. With the Fall semester behind you, you can officially let the good times roll for a whole month — maybe longer. The only problem is you’re heading home, and you’re going to need to make some adjustments while living under the same roof as your parents and potentially other family members, who may also be visiting for the holidays.

Don’t panic — you’ve got this! With these tips, heading home for winter break can and will be a smooth transition.

How to Survive Winter Break Back at Home

Try to reset an uneven diet. Ramen isn’t a major food group, and unfortunately, neither is pizza. Your parents are probably footing the grocery bill right now, so ask them to fill the fridge with fresh veggies, fruits, and lean meats. Stop skipping breakfast — it really does help jumpstart your metabolism and day — and avoid processed foods as much as possible. You have a kitchen at your disposal, so use it! Find a few recipes you’d like to try and go for it.

Take stock of what you accomplished last semester. Maybe you aced that crazy-hard final after struggling in a class all semester or juggled a full course load and still found time to join a club or student organization. Celebrate those small victories, however insignificant they may seem. There’s also no time like the present to start goal setting for the Spring. Start thinking about what you want for yourself in the new year.

Manage expectations about living back home again. Parents nagging you about curfew, siblings taking your stuff, and relatives asking questions you don’t want to answer? If your head is spinning just thinking about the potential conflicts that could ensue, go ahead and stock up on Excedrin Extra Strength now. It offers fast relief in 15 minutes against headaches. Stash a bottle in your bag or suitcase for the journey home, too. It’s bound to be filled with one or more headache-inducing situations — traffic jams, crying kids, or a delayed flight.

Create small goals you want to accomplish while at home. Right now, you have a clean slate — no classes or coursework and few commitments beyond a family dinner or two. Use this time to set a couple of small goals and tackle them. Want to cook more? Sign up for a class at a local event space or food store. Feel like it’s been a minute since you last volunteered? Spend a day at a local soup kitchen or animal shelter. Maybe it’s as simple as just being better at doing laundry. Ask your parents or an older sibling for a tutorial.

Make money. Low on dough and over asking mom or dad for cash? Now’s the perfect time to get a part-time job. Plenty of companies are hiring seasonal workers, especially big retailers. And since many people travel during this time of year, your former boss or manager may be looking for an extra worker to pick up some shifts. Babysitting or pet sitting are also options.

Self-care it up. Multiple all nighters and running around campus for classes definitely takes a toll on the body. Recuperate from the grueling semester with lots of long baths, face masks, and some aromatherapy with essential oils or scented candles. Catch up on sleep when you can, and treat yourself to a massage to relieve stress.

Make time to move your body every day. Hit the gym or finally try that hot yoga class you’ve been wanting to take. Recruit a high school friend to be your workout buddy — it ’ll be more fun that way. If intense cardio isn’t your thing, no worries. Light exercise will still relieve stress and make you feel healthy. Take a walk to look at holiday decorations, or maybe just spend some time stretching every morning.

The more you mentally prepare for the transition back into your former home, the better your winter break will be. Use these tips to help you manage your parents’ — and your own — expectations.