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Today is the last day of class at ISU, which means there’s only a couple more weeks until grades are turned in and winter break officially begins. If you don’t have final exams to worry about, your semester might end even earlier! So, what kinds of winter break activities do I recommend for grad students, especially those who teach? Here’s a list of fun and productive activities to try out over the break.

Productive Winter Break Activities

Ok, ok. Before we start having tons of fun during the break, let’s end the semester on a high note that will make the next semester more organized. Here’s a video with three productive activity ideas, including one that’s for grad students who are transitioning into teaching their first college course next semester.

Note: The other two tips are for grad students who are already teaching.

What do I cover in the video?

These activities help insure you start off the next semester with confidence in your teaching plans and with the knowledge that your teaching and research files are going to be easy to navigate when you need them.

You could also have a marathon watching session of my teaching tips playlist over on YouTube. 😉 Just saying…

Fun, Solo Winter Break Activities

Here are some activity ideas for my fellow introverts who want a break from people while on a break from school responsibilities. Is that just me? I somehow doubt it.

Take an Interesting Walk

So, I live in Florida. That means this cold front of high 50s – low 60s is about as cold as it will get over the break. Because of this (amazing) weather situation, the first activity I recommend is walking around the neighborhood while listening to your favorite inspirational podcast. The new year is almost here, which makes getting excited for what’s ahead next year a great activity to do while casually strolling through a nearby park. Or, if you’re in a terrible weather situation, you can always do this activity while at the gym.

Relax with a Fun Video Game

I started playing The Sims when it was actually just called The Sims. Now we are at The Sims 4 and I’m still loving it. It’s the only video game I play, but I never get tired of it. This break, I plan on getting the Discover University extension and playing around with my characters who are going to explore the new world of college (the irony, I know). Until then, I’m having fun with the Realm of Magic extension I bought on sale during Black Friday.

Do you enjoy video games, but haven’t been able to find the time to play? Winter break is the time! Or if you have another solo hobby like knitting or something, that’s a great way to de-stress, as well.

[I love playing Sims 4 Discover University. Here are some other gift ideas for grad students.]

Fun, Group Winter Break Activities

Ready for some fun group activities to do before the new semester begins? Here are a couple that I always try to fit in during winter break.

Meals with Friends You’ve Missed

I don’t tend to go out a lot during the semester. I might chat with my fellow grad students when on campus, but getting together as a group to just hang out and eat rarely happens. But, winter break is the perfect time to plan for these types of occasions. And if you travel home for the break, it’s the perfect time to spend a couple hours with friends (and family) that you haven’t seen in potentially months. My friends from home get together for a Christmas meal each year. Start getting the ball rolling for your own group meal or game night.

Ice Skating, Bowling, Ax Throwing, Top Golf

You get the idea. There are plenty of fun activities that you likely don’t get around to while trying to balance course work, teaching, research, service, and just life in general. So, do them during winter break and take a group of friends along. I haven’t been ax throwing yet, and it’s not high on my to-do list. I’m also terrible at golf. But, ice skating is the perfect activity to celebrate the holiday break while in such a hot location. Pick your favorite activity and call up some friends. Get adventurous!

If You’re Working through the Break, Here’s a Self-Care Checklist!

I know that taking a break from work during winter break isn’t always possible. So, if that’s the case for you, here’s a challenge to give yourself over the break: complete these 25 small self-care activities one day at a time before the new semester begins!

Here are some self-care activities to try out during winter break, especially if you plan to work through it! #selfcare #highered
PDF Available in the Resource Library

Final Thoughts

These are just a few winter break activities that can help you decompress from a tough or super busy semester. I really do recommend starting with the productive ones, as reflecting on the past semester is harder once a few weeks have passed. And organizing your files isn’t exactly the most enjoyable past time when you can be watching Netflix or going skiing. But, it’s up to you, of course! I just hope you’re able to enjoy your break from the hustle and bustle of academia.

Comment Below: What activity are you definitely going to do during this winter break?

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Looking for productive and/or fun winter break activities? Here are seven ideas to help you make sure your winter break is the best it can be. If you teach as a grad student, the first three tips are made for you! #gradstudent #winterbreak