It’s 6:45am. Your alarm rings in your ears. Time to drag yourself from the comfort of warm blankets, and trudge to class. A brief 24 hours ago you
were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico without a care in the world. Now you are wrapped in scarves and boots. How did this happen to you?
Spring Break is a time to unwind, reconnect with yourself, let your mind wander, explore the world, be spontaneous with your friends. It does wonders for relaxation and mood boosting. You might wonder, Why can’ t life always be like this?
Then, Monday happens. All of the freedom of Spring Break is replaced by the prison of papers to write, pages to read, classes to attend, and jobs to perform. The Spring Break afterglow can be short lived, but it doesn’t need to be.
Here are a few tips to extend the afterglow of vacation and leverage your Spring Break experiences to energize the rest of your semester.
Practice savoring the present.
Savoring is a practice that can instantly boost your energy levels and mood. And you can do it anywhere and anytime. Savoring is simply slowing down to enjoy and experience the present moment. It’s all about noticing colors, shapes, textures, tastes, and aromas in your current environment.
You probably did this quite naturally when you were on vacation because you didn’t have deadlines to worry about. Our busyness sometimes drains us because we end up anxious about the next appointment, the next class, the next assignment, rather than enjoying the moment.
One easy way to start savoring the present is to savor your meals. Eat more slowly, notice the texture, taste, and aroma of your food. Pay attention to what you like about your food. Maybe you like the colors, or maybe you like the flavor (sweet, sour, bitter, salty). Slowing down to savor your meals will boost your feelings of well-being and (side benefit) it’s good for your digestion too.
Studies show that people who score highest on life satisfaction often feel grateful about past experiences. Gratitude increases positive memories and enhances energy for the present. One fun way to practice gratitude is to review the pictures you took while on vacation, taking the time to re-experience everything you felt while on that beach in Mexico or when you were on the road with your friends, packed shoulder to shoulder in the car.
After you re-experience everything you felt about that past moment, take the time to write down why you are grateful for that memory, or tell someone why you are thankful for that experience.
Share your experience.
Sharing your experience with others helps you feel connected, which can increase motivation. Find a way to share your vacation with someone else. Take a friend out for coffee and take turns sharing what was most meaningful to you about your break. Swap funny stories that happened to you, or funny things that you did.
Laughing together and laughing at ourselves helps us take things (and ourselves) less seriously, which immediately decreases anxiety about all those papers and projects. When we feel humorous, our creativity soars and our problem-solving skills sharpen. Your work will benefit from these bursts of creativity.
Reserve an hour this week to laugh with a friend. It will be the best thing you’ve done since Spring Break.