When I first started back to school, working and going to school full-time, I thought the breaks between sessions would be my “catch-up” times. I planned to use that time to catch up on all the housework that fell behind because of my schedule, or on the work I could get done before the new session started.
But after a year of doing that, I realized I was burning myself out. So now, I’m more strategic in my planning, and build in some fun and relaxation during those down times.
As crazy as it sounds, we clean house and put out many of our Christmas decorations during our fall break in October. This gives me more of an opportunity to actually enjoy them, rather than trying to scurry around during our short Thanksgiving break to get it all done. By at least having them upstairs (rather than their hiding place in the basement), I can do a little at a time to make special arrangements all around the house.
I try to plan a vacation for after Christmas. This year, we have a longer break before school starts back, so that gives us more time to wind down and really relax. As Session A winds down and Session B begins, I’m already counting the days!
Here are some other ideas for celebrating during breaks:
- Take a road trip. With current gas prices continuing to rise, your “road trip” might just have to be to the grocery store, but make an adventure out of at least one journey.
- Visit local museums or tourist attractions. Playing tourist for a day or two is almost as good as a real vacation!
- Read a book for fun. Okay, so maybe you read books regularly for fun, but with my work and all the textbook reading, I have to plan when to read for fun, and I use the breaks to do it. Getting lost in a delightful novel is a great escape.
- Read an entire book of the Bible during your break. Digging into the Word restores, refreshes, and rejuvenates more than any other activity. Don’t believe me? Spend a week in Acts and watch what happens!
- Throw a party! Most younger college students don’t need an excuse to have a party, so why should all of us non-traditional students? Invite friends or family over for a meal, or for coffee, dessert and conversation. Doesn’t have to be extravagant – the point is just spending time in fellowship with friends and loved ones.
- Take a hike. Have you checked out any of the state or national parks near your home? Throw some picnic foods in a backpack and hit the trails – getting into nature is a great way to refresh.
- Volunteer for some mission work. Check your local homeless shelter, food pantry, or senior center and see if they could use some help for a day or two during your break. Giving of yourself to someone in need is a great way to acknowledge appreciation for the blessings of your own life.
As I wrote this post, I learned of the death of a very special lady. I never met her in person, but we both belonged to the same professional groups and had been acquainted online for many years, exchanging occasional e-mails, prayer requests and Facebook comments. Her sudden death was a surprise to everyone, and caused all who knew her to pause. We all just stopped for a few minutes or a few hours, pondering life and death. She was a Christian and she shared her love of Jesus with everyone. We don’t wish her back, because we know she’s happy and well with Jesus, but we do reflect on our own lives.
Life is too short. Make the most of every break, the most of every day – live your life with gusto, so that when you’re gone, people will pause. Celebrate life in such a way that people will want to know what you have, and then you can tell them what Jesus means to you.