Relaxation (and Preparation) for Winter Quarter

By Matthew Kersting |

As we make our way out of fall and into winter, we all need to take some well-earned rest! Relaxing during downtime is essential to keep productivity up (i.e., not getting burned out from the constant work stream). Burnout can sneak up on you, so you must care for yourself. If you can, visit your family and spend time outside campus. If you cannot travel, spend some time outdoors at one of the local parks (e.g., Sycamore Highland, Fairmount, or Mt. Rubidoux Parks) or connect with friends! You deserve time away from the office!


[Image Description: From top to bottom: Sycamore Highland Park, Fairmount Park, and Mt. Rubidoux Park.]

Relaxation is essential, but taking too much time away or detaching entirely from your work or projects can make returning to them difficult. You don’t want to start the winter quarter in a slump, or you will quickly dig yourself a hole that can give you avoidable stress. 

Here are a few tips to enjoy your break while maintaining a healthy connection to tasks:

Set Time Boundaries

Much like you would schedule work throughout the day, allocate an hour or so each day to tackling or revisiting actionable material that can be accomplished in smaller windows. This task could be as simple as replying to emails or filing paperwork. By doing this, you remain productive and can walk away knowing you progressed on your to-do list in at least some fashion!


[Image Description: Spongebob taking a break after completing a small amount of work on his essay.]

Caption: Break time is a great time!


One of the most helpful things you can do to maintain a connection to your work (and not commit so hard that it pulls you right out of any hope of relaxation) is organizing your workspace. Be it physical paper or files on your PC, getting rid of unnecessary clutter or relabeling and moving items to be more helpful moving forward are ways to improve your workflow in winter without getting too immersed to relax and enjoy yourself!

Scheduling for the Future

One great thing about having some downtime without the everyday structure of the academic quarter is that you can put together your ideal schedule for the winter quarter. Perhaps you realized you are allocating more work on a project than you anticipated when you started (e.g., teaching assistantship duties, reading for your thesis/dissertation). With the gap between quarters, you can adjust the way your typical week should look for you to have the time you need. You can work toward the new benchmarks you have already set rather than wait until the quarter starts.

I hope everyone can take it easy these next few weeks before we start to bounce back in full swing! 


[Image Description: Heffer from Rocko’s Modern Life sitting on a chair, clapping his hands.]

Caption: Time to relax and prepare!