Published: Dec. 6, 2018

Taking care of ourselves and finding ways to relax is especially important during times of stress. With the busy fall semester ending next week, take some time to practice self-care over winter break and get yourself ready for the next semester.

Self-care doesn’t have to be a big investment of time or money. Whether you have a few minutes or a few days, here are some ideas to relax and recharge.

Man sits on bench at snowy Flagstaff Lookout, looking out over BoulderIf you have a few minutes...

  • Take some time to stretch and do a guided breathing exercise with the free Breathe2Relax app.
  • Try gratitude journaling and jot down a quick list of things you are grateful for.
  • Plug in your headphones and listen to your favorite song or watch a funny video.
  • Make positivity lists of accomplishments you’re proud of, places you’d like to go someday, things you like about yourself, improvements you’ve made and so on.

If you have a couple of hours...

  • Borrow a book from the library and find a comfortable spot to read.
  • Find joyful movement in your day. Take a walk, stretch, hike or watch free YouTube videos for yoga or pilates.
  • Take some time to learn stress-management techniques through the SilverCloud Health online portal.
  • Try out a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, word search or other mind-engaging game. Most are available as free apps.
  • Call a friend or family member and reconnect. Get new Netflix recommendations, share updates from your life, exchange recipes—whatever keeps the conversation flowing and positive for you.

If you have a day...

  • Try a new hobby, such as drawing, cooking or martial arts. Find free online tutorials or videos to get you started.
  • Take advantage of local low-cost and free entertainment, such as the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, CU’s Museum of Natural History or ice skating at the Rec Center (CU faculty and staff can visit the Rec Center for free between Dec. 26 and Jan. 6).
  • Find a cause you care about and look into volunteer opportunities. Research shows when our actions align with our values, we tend to feel more relaxed and have a more positive outlook.