Parents and Families

student with guitar and sibling

Officially known as Winter Recess, U-M’s Spring Break is Saturday 2/28 through Sunday 3/8 this year. And while it may not be very "springlike" in Michigan in February and March, at least students can count on getting a break, right?

As it turns out, Spring Break can be a busy, even hectic, time for a lot of students and families. Some Michigan students travel for community service learning projects like Alternative Spring Break. Others spend the time working, or searching for summer internships. Some will travel for leisure with friends or family members. Other students are just looking forward to the chance to catch up on studying and get ahead on class projects.

All of this means that it can be challenging to take a break, or to get a genuine mental and physical rest from work and classes.

The mental health and wellness experts at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) want to encourage us all to consider the importance of play! Making time for play helps us feel energized, engages our creativity, and reduces stress. Dr. Stuart Brown defines play as:

...a state of mind, rather than an activity… an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time. It is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again. (Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, 2009).

Students (and their families!) can explore CAPS resources like identifying your own Play Personality, or by taking a 5 minute Play Challenge.

And in addition to play, study, work, travel, and socializing, don’t forget about the importance of rest. Did you know that college students go to bed one to two hours later and sleep less per night on average compared to previous generations? And that 75% of U-M undergraduates do not sleep enough to feel rested on five or more days per week?

This spring break, your student may be looking forward to time away from classes to sleep in, take naps, and take it easy. If they need motivation to rest, you can let them know that sleeping longer is associated with better grades

So however your students spend their Winter Recess, their Spring Break, or just this coming weekend, you might want to encourage them to keep time in their schedules for playing and resting. (And while you're at it, parents and family members might enjoy a break, too!)


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Winter 2015 Newsletter

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