The do’s and do not’s of winter break

Junior+Tyler+Hannegan+and+Senior+Ally+Guccione+sit+on+a+couch+and+enjoy+the+popular+holiday+drink%2C+peppermint+hot+chocolate.

Dani Fischer

Junior Tyler Hannegan and Senior Ally Guccione sit on a couch and enjoy the popular holiday drink, peppermint hot chocolate.

Finals are over. A weight has been lifted off your back, the air smells fresher and the whole world is brighter. There’s absolutely no homework and you have nothing left to do. So, what do you do?

The truth is, most students do a whole lot of nothing. Overwhelmed with all the time on their hands, people sit at home and waste their winter break. Here’s some things to do so that those precious two weeks off are not spent binge watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Do:

Sleep in

There is absolutely no reason to wake up early on winter break, so turn off the alarm and sleep as long as your tired body desires. This is the chance to catch up on all the sleep you lost last semester, and get a head start on the next, so do not let your mom wake you up super early to go to your grandparent’s house. Grandma’s cookies can wait.

Spend time with your family

This is one of the most important things to during the holiday season. Sure, you have to spend two weeks at home anyway, but make an effort to sit with your family at meals and go do fun things together. There’s a lot of good places around St. Louis to eat, which gives you and your family the perfect time to catch up on each others’ lives.

Spend time with your friends

This is almost as important as spending time with your family. Two weeks away from friends can be pretty rough, so set aside time to reconnect during the busy break and do things you cannot normally do while school is in session; like trying to beat the world record for the most amount of Post-it notes stuck to a person’s face in one minute.

Listen to new music

During the semester, I barely have time to sleep, much less sit down and find new music. Use your free time to go on Spotify and just browse. Choose a music genre you’ve never listened to before and set the playlist to shuffle. A playlist of your favorite songs is also a great gift idea – the best present I have ever received was my friend’s “Favorites” playlist in a time that I really needed it. If you need ideas of albums to listen to, here is the top ten albums of the year.

Go ice skating

With the lack of cold weather in St. Louis recently, ice skating is a great idea to bond with friends and family and get into the winter season. A couple of good places near West are Steinberg and Queeny.

Consume as much peppermint as possible

‘Tis the season for all things peppermint, and it is almost over. Take that holiday money from your grandma and buy 12 peppermint mochas. Oberweis carries my favorite food ever, peppermint ice cream, and you can order some here.

Go see a movie

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out now! Movies are a great way to pass some time, plus there’s popcorn. Gather a group of friends and go to see a new movie; even if none of the movies look interesting, going to the movies is worth it just for the popcorn.

Make New Year’s resolutions

This is sort of a given, but New Year’s resolutions are classic way to start the year off. It doesn’t have to be the classic “exercise” or “get better grades” either; small things like writing homework in a planner can be great goals to vastly improve in 2016.

Volunteer

There are numerous opportunities to give back to the community at this time of year, and it doesn’t take much searching. You could get a group together and go down to the St. Louis food bank to sort meal boxes, or go to a local nursing home and hang out with some residents – the opportunities are endless!

Pay attention to what you want to do

If your stomach is telling you that you are hungry, listen to it and search out good restaurants. If you think you might want to go visit a distant relative, make plans! This is your free time, and you should decide the agenda.

Do not:

Obsess over next semester

It is not happening yet. You can’t do anything about your worry, other than talk to a counselor if it is something that can be resolved.

Eat way too many cookies

This is probably the hardest “do not” on the list. After Christmas, all the holiday cookies go on sale; so, of course, it makes sense to buy them and shamefully eat four boxes in one night. However, the next day you will regret it, so just eat the cookies in moderation.

Binge watch Netflix

Ah Netflix, the ultimate time waster. While it may seem like a good idea at the time, sitting alone binge watching 6 seasons of that new show will eat away your break like nothing else. Before you know it, second semester will have started and you will have nothing to tell your friends about what you did over winter break. I am not saying do not watch Netflix at all, but be careful not to get trapped pressing “next episode” for 6 days straight.

Overschedule

While there are a ton of possibilities for break, be careful not to pack your schedule too full. You have to remember that this is a break, so there has to be some down time for you to recuperate from finals and just relax.

Winter break 2015 does not have to be known as ‘that week you didn’t have school’. If you get together with some friends or family and go out of your way to have a good time, I promise that this winter break will be one to remember.