Give yourself an honest break during staycation


The words “spring break” can be the medication to any student’s exhausted, college-torn soul. Spring semester has a knack for blurring into a distressing sequence of papers, quizzes and exams. It can get difficult to just stop and breathe. 

Usually, spring break lets us do just that. We get to let some of the tension off of our shoulders. We can go on an impromptu road trip to Chicago with our closest friends or hitchhike up the nearest hill with a picnic basket stuffed to the brim in hand. It is a special kind of magic that most, if not all, students cherish. 

This year, though, our options are a bit limited. 

At the moment, we have the leisure but not the option to do whatever our hearts desire. Everyone plays a role in lessening the impact of COVID-19. Please do not be that person who hits up beaches in Florida like it is nothing out of the ordinary. 

This brings about the glaring question on all of our minds– what exactly are we supposed to do when the entire world is essentially on pause? 

My honest suggestion? Take a break. Do not try to do anything extraordinary. Do absolutely nothing if that is what you want. 

Everywhere I look, social media has taken the stance that if you do not write the next great American novel during this period of isolation, you are wasting time. Twitter and Instagram posts emphasize that now is the perfect opportunity to launch that Etsy shop or freelance business you have not had the time for—if you do not, you are the problem. 

We are placing immense amounts of pressure on ourselves to be productive and stay moving in whatever way we can. I want us all to take a step back, sit down and realize we are in the midst of a global crisis, and arguably, a global trauma. 

You do not have to force yourself to do anything grand with the time we have been given; we neither wanted nor asked for it. You do not have to learn how to play a new instrument. You do not need to deep clean the house from roof to floorboard. 

Really, all you need to do is follow public health policies and stay safe. 

If working on grand sorts of projects is what keeps you motivated and grounded, then by all means, please do. However, guilt-tripping yourself into staying as productive as you were before the pandemic will cause you more harm than good. 

Over on my end, I have been feeling the pressure of “making the most” out of spring break. We can not go galloping around the streets and having the time of our lives. Surely I need to get something accomplished during this week of free time. I have realized that this line of thinking is pointless, though. 

America has a hustle-culture, which whether intentionally or not, stresses that every bit of our free time can be monetized in some way. If you sew for pure fun and enjoyment, you need to open up a business. If you paint evocative portraits, you need to take commissions. 

In a world that is as rocky and uncertain as the anxiety rolling around in our guts, we really do not need this kind of pressure. 

So, my suggestion is this: during staycation, do whatever brings you peace and take deliberate care of yourself. 

Make an effort to be kind to your body—drink plenty of water and do not skip out on meals, as tempting as it is. Get enough rest each night, and when the sun peeks over the horizon, brush your teeth and wash your face. 

Change your bedsheets and eat your favorite snacks. Curl up in your blankets and catch up on your favorite TV show. 

And, most importantly, stay safe.