By Stephanie Seng and Stephanie Dalager
Spring break is just around the corner, and whether you are jetting off to paradise or taking a staycation in Fort Collins, a week off from classes is a much-needed chance to relax before the final push to the end of the year.
It can be easy to let self-care practices fall by the wayside during the craziness of mid-term, and spring break can be the pause that we need to put a self-care plan back in place.
– Take a real break: You may have term papers, job applications and exams looming; however, give yourself at least a full day away from your work to decompress.
– Reconnect: Take the time to reconnect with friends and family who maybe you haven’t kept in touch with over the semester.
– Get outside: Even if you aren’t headed to a beach, a little vitamin D and fresh air goes a long way when it comes to helping you relax.
– Get moving: Exercise can go by the wayside when our to-do lists get full. Spring break can be the perfect time to get back into a workout routine.
– Read a book that’s not for school: Remember the summer when reading was completely for enjoyment? Pick out a good beach novel and let yourself become absorbed in it.
Even though spring break should be fun, safely navigating spring break destinations where thousands of students go to party requires some planning.
Tips to keep yourself safe and healthy
– Make a plan: Talk about safety ahead of time with your friends — how will you get safely from place to place? What happens if someone has too much to drink? How will you make sure to stay together?
– Be smart about drinking: Binge drinking is a really common behavior for college students on spring break. Not only is binge drinking potentially deadly, it makes you more susceptible to sexual or other violence. Be aware of how many drinks you and your friends have consumed. Keep your friends safe by letting them know if you think they’ve had too much.
– Use the buddy system: Throughout the night check regularly that your whole crew is safe and accounted for. Never leave the bar or party for the night without all of the friends you came with.
– Watch your drink: As flattering as it can be to have a stranger buy you a drink, politely declining is the best way to stay safe. Always make sure to have your drink in your hand, and if you’ve let it out of your sight for a moment, throw it out.
– Consent requires a “yes”: Drugs and alcohol can affect people’s ability to make decisions, including whether or not they want to be sexual with someone else. This means that if someone is really drunk or high, they cannot give consent. Being with them in a sexual way when they don’t know what’s going on is equal to rape, because they cannot give informed consent.
– And on the note of consent… You have the right to change your mind: You always have the right to say “no,” and you always have the right to change your mind at any time, regardless of how far things have gone.
– Trust your gut: If a situation doesn’t feel safe, that’s a good indication that it might not be. Leave immediately if you can or call law enforcement if necessary — this means always have your phone charged and with you.
Spring break is all about taking a week to relax, recharge and have a little (or a lot of) fun. Having a plan to keep yourself and your friends safe and healthy will ensure that you return home safely with good memories, a good tan and the good vibes needed to get you through the rest of the semester.
For more health tips, visit the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board.
Stephanie Seng and Stephanie Dalager are in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Colorado State University Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Colorado State University’s Center for Family and Couple Therapy is affiliated with the MFT Program and provides high-quality therapy services to families, couples, individuals, adolescents, and children. The CFCT offers services to all members of the Larimer County community, as well as to students, faculty, and staff on campus. For more information, see www.cfct.chhs.colostate.edu.