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Healthy Living
How to Stay Healthy-ish Over Break Student enjoys a cup of coffee in the morning

Ahh, ’tis the season! The season of pumpkin spice, pouring gravy on everything, and eating foods with whipped cream on them when you didn’t even know they could be eaten with whipped cream. In other words, the season of food comas and sugar-induced naps.

        I find myself oftentimes slipping away from my normal eating and exercise routine over fall break, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one. I’m here to help you find that perfect middle ground between relaxing but not feeling like a sack of potatoes. Over the past few years, I’ve honed in my super-rad-but-not-always-effective skills for maintaining an adventurous lifestyle over break. Here you have them:

Find A Routine

        Maybe it’s waking up early, maybe it’s going for an afternoon walk, or maybe it’s just eating a carrot for a midday snack. Find something healthy to add to your day, and make it your goal to stick with it. That way, even if you end up having a chill, day-long date with Netflix, you’ll have your healthy little to-do to keep you motivated.

        My fitness tracker is my best friend when it comes to my daily goal for staying active. My personal to-do is hitting the 10,000 steps mark every day, regardless of how active my day is outside of that. Aiming for a certain number of steps per day is a great way to make sure you’re letting your body move a bit and get some fresh air! Plus, let’s be real, sometimes it’s nice to have an excuse to escape the house every once in a while.

Pace Yourself!

        Food babies. We’ve all had them. They never feel great. Why does it happen? Bloated bellies, nausea, and gassiness are all a sign that you’ve overeaten. Trust me… I’ve been there many times before. Fall break is full of deeeeeee-lish temptations that are hard to turn down, so who says you have to?

        My advice: put less on your plate than you think you need. Eye those mashed potatoes, think about the serving size you want, and get half of it. That way you can fit a bit of every dish you want on your plate, and once you’re done if you’re still hungry you can always head back for seconds! Start with less and stop once you don’t feel hungry, rather than over-committing to a lot of food and finishing it out of obligation (that’s what I tend to do).

Take A Brain Break

        It’s called Fall BREAK, so take one! Now is a perfect time for relaxation and a great opportunity for you to focus on your mental health. Try not to think about classes, paying rent, and other stressors. Decompress and enjoy your time off!

        There are so many great ways to relax, and everyone does it differently. Take a class at your local yoga studio, read a book, break in a new sketchbook, go for a walk, cuddle with your dog – anything! Find the thing that calms your mind, and do that thing. School can get crazy and hectic, so let’s bask in a few days without responsibilities, shall we?

Try Something New, Be Adventurous!

        Sticking with the same workout every day can get monotonous, so why not use your time over Fall Break to spice things up a bit? Spend a day learning something new (rollerblading, slacklining, etc.) or ask a friend to join you in exploring new options!

        Here are a couple options:

        -Strengthen your body and mind with Yoga: Grab a friend and try this if you haven’t before! Hot yoga, pilates, barre, and more are all great calming options to help your mind and body relax. Check out some local yoga classes near you or rent a workout DVD that will show you the basics.         

        – Explore a Local Park: Bundle up, get outside, and breathe in that fresh fall air! Find a nice walking path or park where you can go for a walk or run, do some rollerblading, go for a bike ride, or just sit and relax. Ada Hayden is a great local example here in Ames. It is perfect for walking/running and it has plenty of green space for yoga (and napping).

– Have a dance party! Get together with some friends or family, turn up that music, say goodbye to your dignity, and let it all go. Let loose, relax your mind, and destress in a fun way. Or just lock yourself in your room, crank those early 2000s hits, and go crazy (we all do it, be honest).  

But Most Importantly – Indulge!

        Yeah, yeah. While it’s important to stick to a healthy lifestyle, we mustn’t forget the most important pro-tip: treat yo’self! Don’t compromise your happiness. If you’ve been eating healthy all week and you see a donut that just looks too good, don’t pass it up! Don’t say no to grandma’s famous pumpkin pie. Don’t skip out on hot cocoa by the fire. Know your limits, and know when to indulge a bit!