Plenty of time before the Yuletide cheers. Plenty of time to laze around thinking about what to do, while doing absolutely nothing. Vacations offer a lot of time. For a lot of people, this might be too much time without any signs of productivity. And that causes unnecessary worry. Why is it unnecessary? Because you didn’t plan it out.
Ever wondered, “What if each vacation came with a well-sorted catalogue of ideas and options to keep it together”? If you ever did, we got you covered. And if you didn’t, here’s a list of things you can do that’ll make you wish you thought of it sooner.
For the Career Driven Mind
Pursuing academically relevant matter beyond the scope of your course plan can be quite problematic during the semester. It’s pretty easy to find yourself overwhelmed by how much you want to do, how much you need to do, and how much you can do. If only you had time to focus on a few things specifically without having to worry about too many things at once, right?
These free days can essentially be a boon for learning and researching. They can save your schedule during academic months from being too clogged up. If you’re looking for specific suggestions, read on.
Remember the Indian Youtubers saving you during your exams by explaining everything within only 20 minutes what you couldn’t comprehend for an entire semester? Now triple that effect. That is what proper online courses can offer for you. From Harvard’s EDx to Coursera, learners have a plethora of options to choose from. With specific courses for topics such as Computer Science, Business, Health, Language, and so much more, these online platforms can make your educational experience as wholesome as a home-cooked meal.
Universities and Worldwide organisations are always on the lookout for innovation. One way of showcasing yours is through online competitions which are held throughout the year. Again, since you don’t have your academics to worry about right now, why not take up a competition to challenge yourself? It can prove to be a great exercise of your thinking and analytical skills. Keeping your senses sharp and staying on your toes can help gear you up for the new semester too.
Researching on Universities for Masters Courses
Vacation time can be great for taking a look at prospective Universities where one may want to pursue their Masters. Most Universities have various requirements besides academics that they look into. If you’re looking into admissions into European universities, chances are, you would have to learn their language. You might even have to work on several individual or collaborative projects. Holidays, fortunately, can very well help you to plan everything out and make sure your CV is enough for your dream university to roll out a carpet for you.
Journals, Research Papers and Articles
Or maybe you’re more into research reading. Might be general interest or a newfound urge. Another way of going about productivity is by identifying one particular topic of interest and reading up on it. Experts in various fields intimate the world with their work through papers frequently. As an alternative, you could further challenge yourself by being an author to your own paper. Not only will it be an exquisite educational experience, but will also be a nice addition to that CV you need to work on.
For the Wannabe Carefree Mind
Amidst the hustle-bustle of the academic hubbub, what gets neglected the most is one’s self. Assignments, lectures, club meetings, seminars, etc. can occupy a lot in one’s mind. What takes a backseat is one’s emotional quotient, relaxation and introspection. Vacations are the perfect time to service your inner circuitry.
Working on Yourself
Stimulating one’s mind with the pleasant, tingling sensations through an array of activities and therapies not only calms one down for the moment but also helps one in the long run. There’s nothing as productive and yet as calming as mastering innate skills at our own pace.
We have listed down several activities to help one soothe and heal their nerves.
Assisted Pet Activities
Think about coming back to your dog after a long hectic day. How does it feel? Soothing and relaxing, right? Imagine signing up for activities that would require you to interact with animals every day for some time. Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) are a group of activities which involve interacting with animals. Mostly dogs, cats and sometimes guinea pigs, horses and their trainers are a part of this.
So, people who need a break from their hectic schedule need to relax or who seek some warm company could go to the nearest dog park. In the metropolitan areas, several organisations provide service or therapy dogs and cats for the above mentioned. The growing trend of pet cafés caters to the needs of people. Look out for organisations providing such services in your neighbourhood and spend your vacation in the company of some wet noses, warm paws and soft fur.
Art is Therapy
Well, life isn’t all black and white. Nor it is grey. Life is Red, Blue, Pink, Magenta, Green, Purple, Mauve, Lilac, Yellow, Brown, Golden and every colour you can think of. Remember the time when the ‘toddler you’ would take a crayon, a sheet of paper, and forget what’s going on in the world? Well, returning to colours is never a bad idea. Through art, one can explore his or her own emotions, thoughts, feelings and state of mind. One need not be an artist or possess any artistic ability to be a part of this activity. This can be easily initiated by witnessing some illustrations or artworks by any third party; after all, everything is inspired by something.
A lot of people indulge in finger painting, colouring, making clay models which are a part of this therapeutic process, to relive their childhood again. So if you are looking forward to having fun in your process of self-repair, what are you waiting for?
The Power of Music
What can some good music not fix? Be it a stressful, hectic day at work or a bad heartbreak. Through music, one can channel out almost anything and everything. Music with strong rhythmic elements affects heart rate. Also, listening to a certain type of music leads to the release of endorphins and also reduces muscle tension which promotes relaxation. Music also brings out our repressed emotions or our thoughts in our subconscious mind, which help us to work with our behavioural issues. As a result, the music turns out to be quite the uplift we need.
Spending Some Quality Time
With all the time in hand, what can be a better time to catch up with that one friend whom you promised to be in touch with but never got time to, or to go on a coffee date with your best friend and spill some tea about what’s going on around. Maybe going on a long drive with your mum while telling her about your little college adventures. Or, to cook with your dad while he cracks some ‘dad jokes’. Help your brother with his assignments while secretly trying to get words about his love life out. Planning a day out with the cousin gang, who have always been your partners in crime, perhaps? Our hectic schedules drift us apart physically from our loved ones every single day.
Vacations are the best time to trace the dotted line back that joins our heart and rekindle the love between us. Being around our loved ones improves our social attributes. Also, it calms down our nerves and helps us relax. Being present around the people who matter, sharing our thoughts and feelings with them, reliving the beautiful memories with them in itself is a therapy. Not only interacting with our beloved makes us feel good at the moment but also gives us the strength to live the post-vacation life. So what are you waiting for? Call them up and start making plans already.
Keeping a tab on the ‘on spot mental eeries’
Christmas means the time to party. For a lot of people, the doorbell to a party can be a siren for their crippling anxiety. And the Christmas lights? The red caution signs for their inner mental turmoil. While some of us get bewitched by all the glitter and sparkle around, some barely keep hanging in there. Here’s a small list for those who put in too much effort to sail through the festivals, to help them keep a tab on their mental health amidst all the jingles.
- Talk to someone about anything that makes you uncomfortable about attending any social gathering
- Remember, it’s okay to talk. Any time you feel uncomfortable, seek the help of the person around whom you feel comfortable or whom you can trust.
- Have a calming contingency plan. Before the social gathering plan, yourselves small breaks within certain intervals. Like going on to the terrace for 5 minutes or soaking in some fresh air now then. It can always help in making such gatherings easier to enjoy.
- Put yourself first and be kind to yourself. If you think any plan is too much for you, it’s okay to bail out of it. It’s okay to say no to a plan. It’s okay to leave a gathering in between if you don’t feel comfortable.
So, what are you gonna be up to this winter?
Investing in yourself is the best way to ensure that you make the most of everything. Vacations are the perfect time to grow intellectually, socially as well as emotionally. So go on! Grab a suggestion or two, and get cracking. Utilize your time to the fullest. Sing. Draw. Dance. Paint a rainbow. Join some foreign universities for any crash course. Write a poem, read a novel. Explore your innate abilities and discover the wonders you are capable of. But at the end of the day, remember, vacations are for relaxation as well.
-Written by Rithik Talwar and Swikruti Kar
-Edited by Salekha Reddy
-Image credits: Lavanya Karinje and Tushar Machavolu