5 ways to stay sharp over the holidays

By the time winter break comes around, students have been working hard for several months without much reprieve. The holiday season is a great time of year to unwind, watch some movies, hang out with family and friends, and veg a little. This short break from the regular routine also presents an opportunity to review and prepare for a smooth re-entry into the New Year. In order to make the most of this free time and save yourself or your child from feeling overwhelmed and stressed when the new semester starts, consider these tips:

1. Sleep!
Catching up on some zzzz's can help the brain recharge and reduce anxiety levels. Experts say that every hour of sleep gained before midnight counts as two hours of sleep. Rather than sleeping until noon every day for a week, allow an extra hour of sleep at night or in the morning so that you or your child can start school in January feeling recharged instead of jet-lagged. 

2. Review old assignments
While the pressure is off over winter break, take some time to review old assignments or do one better by creating one-page overview pages for each unit or significant topic. This way by the time year-end finals come around in May or June it hasn't been as many as 9 months since you or your child last looked at the material. Looking ahead will save much panic during studying for finals.

3. Read for pleasure
Take a break from textbooks and pull out a novel for entertainment and mental stimulation. Challenge yourself or your child to read at least one book before school starts up again. The benefits of reading include stress reduction, expanded vocabulary and knowledge, memory improvement, better focus, writing skills and stronger analytical skills.

4. Watch TV and movies critically
Always be thinking! A great way to stay sharp while vegging on the couch is to be an active, rather than passive, viewer. This means asking questions, connecting the dots between storylines, picking out symbolism, and evaluating content.

5. Enjoy the snow
In the wintertime, about 40% of Canadians do not get enough Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D helps fight disease, depression and promotes growth. By the time December rolls around, many students are so busy with schoolwork and activities from dawn to dusk that they never see the sun. Exercising outdoors is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine, while boosting energy levels and promoting better sleep. Strap on some skates, skis, a snowboard or some snowshoes and get moving!

Happy holidays!
-Emma S.

  • Posted By Emma
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