U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

For many UM students, Thanksgiving and Winter Break is time to gather with family and friends in celebration of the holiday season. 

However, the break may not generate similar sentiment for other students.  Some students remain on campus during the break. Visiting their home may not be feasible due to long distances and/or unhealthy family dynamics.  Many students are faced with a difficult decision about going home.

With the break coming up, it is not uncommon for some students to find themselves alone and with very little or nothing to do during this time. Loneliness and sadness may be heightened for students who remain on campus.  In addition, the short days and lack of sunlight in Michigan can add to feeling low in general.  If you find yourself in need of mental health support when CAPS is not open, please consider reaching out to CAPS After Hours.

It is important to remember that being alone during the break can actually be quite enjoyable.  The following are suggestions for a more positive break experience:

  • Enjoy…your own company:  Think of all the things you’ve wanted to do and never had the time for.  Remember those times this semester when you felt stressed out and wished you had a few extra hours?  Well, now you have them!
  • Explore and experience: Even if the weather is cold and bleak in Michigan, the season has a lot to offer.  For example, you might try your skills at Winter sports activities.  Most facilities are open during the break.  
  • Connect:  While the campus may feel and seem quiet, there may be others around who are looking to connect.  If you live on campus, consider asking your RA about University sponsored social activities hosted over breaks.   
  • Volunteer: Nonprofit organizations such as soup kitchens and shelters are always looking for people to help during the holidays.  It is a wonderful way to get involved in the local community and spice up your resume.
  • Entertain: So what if no one else has taken the initiative?  You can host a get-together!  Invite others to bring foods and symbols from their culture and/or religion.
  • Relax: This is the PERFECT time to rest and relax before the semester ends, and you find yourself racing to meet deadlines.  Read a book.  Decorate your room.  Watch a movie.  Do nothing!  Enjoy the downtime!

    Even though you may be staying on campus for the holiday season, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your time off.  Have a great break!