Opinion: A safer spring break; time to celebrate the staycation.

From sunbathing to reading, there are many ways to enjoy a staycation. Take advantage of those opportunities this spring break.

Spring break is steadily approaching, with many of us yearning for sunshine and the chance to lie on a beach. Although these fantasies live rent-free in my mind, they are kept accountable by the reminder that we are in a pandemic. The star of this year’s spring break is, drumroll please… the staycation! Whether you are in California or Maine, I propose that instead of traveling, students and their families take advantage of their weeklong break and indulge in a staycation.

Last year many people decided to take advantage of their break by traveling to Mexico and Florida, which resulted in a large surge of positive COVID-19 cases. Instead of mass travel and continued spreading, we should take advantage of a week of relaxation and vacation state of mind. Now is the time to get creative with proposed activities like a family game night or a full spa day.

In an interview with The New York Times, clinical psychologist Dr. Claudia Allen explains that “to create the sensation that you’re getting away, it’s important to distinguish between your days off and your workdays, and then do something special during your free time, even if it's as small as making a nice breakfast. Spring break provides us with a week where we can catch up on the tasks we have been meaning to complete as well as the opportunity to rest."

One fun option is planning a family Olympics; you choose if you want to participate in a winter or summer one. Whether you are residing with your family or with roommates, set a day or two aside to enjoy each other’s time with a little bit of fun-spirited competition. Events can include trivia, feats of physical and intellectual strength and/or unique creative endeavors. Each person can propose an “event" of their choice with potential prizes including boasting privileges and/or a homemade medal.

If you want an outdoor option, plan a social-distanced hike or bike ride. Search out a new hiking spot and prepare a picnic while you watch the sunset. You could try a family bike ride to your local park, with helmets and masks highly encouraged. If you are limited by the temperature or copious amounts of snow, try building a snow-person or personal igloo where you can sip warm drinks.

Try scheduling a family movie night, with a proposed discussion after the movie. Try popping some popcorn and grab your favorite blanket while settling down for an hour or two of pure relaxation and entertainment. If you are feeling fatigued from endless media binging, propose an idea of no phones or media for a day. Instead of endlessly scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, try a new recipe or half an hour of meditation. Pick up that book you have been meaning to read or invest in an adult coloring book and relax with your preferred choice of music.

Whether you take a week-long nap or try a new hobby, spring break should serve as a break from the constant grind of work and school. Take advantage of the time to spend time with the people you love and/or the activities that bring you joy. The pandemic is not something we can choose to accept, but instead something we need to respect to keep each other safe. Instead of flying to a new vacation spot, create your very own vacation spot from the comfort of your own home and see where your creativity and time take you.

This is the opinion of Caroline Thoms, a sophomore English major from Chicago. Email comments to vbackerperal@theloyolan.com. Follow and tweet comments to @LALoyolan on Twitter, and like the Loyolan on Facebook.

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