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Wellness Tips for Winter BreakEverybody benefits from hitting the reset button, and the holiday break is one of those times in the school calendar to do just that. So, does that mean walking away from all the hard-earned lessons of first semester by taking up residence on the family room couch, or playing Fruit Ninja for two weeks? That would probably be suboptimal.

We’ve tracked down some simple suggestions on how to keep what we learned as individuals and as a community these past few months at the front of our minds while still having fun over break. Four experts right here on the Prep campus were happy to offer their advice on how to stay sharp throughout a festive school vacation but still be ready to hit the ground running when you return.

  • “Take advantage of the break to recharge your body, your brain, and your energy for school,” says Stacy Banos, the Prep’s assistant principal for academics for grades 9 and 10. “This is a great time to assess what has worked for you so far (study methods, organizational habits, etc.) and set goals for when you return to school. Maybe you haven’t joined a club or activity yet—it’s not too late! In addition, while there’s lots of fun to be had over break, try your best to still get a good night’s sleep and stick to some semblance of a routine. This will make returning to early mornings and long days less shocking.”
  • Commit yourself to finding a balance between working out and working in,” says Steve Brown, director of wellness at the Prep. “We all know the benefits of exercise and movement to our physical and emotional health, but equally as important is our ability to purposefully recharge by shifting our focus to recovery. Taking the time to journal, practice mindfulness, or explore activities within the overall domain of wellness—spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, physical and aesthetic—can provide opportunities for enhancing connections to our inner world.”
  • Read something for fun,” says St. John’s Writing Center coordinator Meghan Perry. “Select a book or article that interests you and that you’d never read for class. It will keep your mind active, but it will not feel taxing. Sort through your binders or backpack and organize your materials, too. Ditch the paperwork you don’t need. The mere process of looking at old material will serve as a mini-review, and you can get yourself re-organized. Lastly, set some goals for the end of the quarter. Look at where you stand now and where you want to be by January 19th. This way, you will come back more focused in the New Year.”
  • “My advice for staying sharp over Christmas break is to read and to meditate,” says Dr. Mark McManmon, the Prep’s assistant principal for grades 11 and 12. “Finding 45 to 60 minutes a day to read a book for pleasure, and then finding another 15 to 20 minutes to meditate, are great ways to stay energized. I would encourage students to pick a fun book that they will enjoy and then build that reading time into the structure of their day. Maybe it’s the first 45 minutes of the day after waking up, or perhaps it is the last hour before going to bed. A little bit of time each day leads to big results. I’m also a fan of meditation, even if it’s for a short period of time each day. I find it helps me be more thoughtful and reflective. It may sound like a big commitment to do both of these activities each day, but doing this for two weeks will definitely help students stay sharp and well prepared for the return to school in January.”
Posted by Mr. Chad Konecky in Wellness@SJP on Thursday December, 14, 2017

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