Around this time of year, once Thanksgiving is over, I start to think about my winter break plans. 

This year, I’m fortunate to have some time off when my university is closed over the holidays, so I’ll have 10 days in a row (including weekends) that I won’t be in the office.

Here are some of the guiding questions that I’m asking myself as I decide how I want to spend that time — maybe these questions will serve as a guide as you plan your own winter break.

What do I want to wrap up at work so that I can really enjoy this time away from the office? To hit the ground running in January, I plan to pre-draft and schedule some emails that I’ll need to send my first week back. I’d also like to review my calendar for that first week in January and see what kind of prep work might be a nice gift to my future self as I’m easing back into lots of meetings.

What do I most need during this break period? After a pretty hard push with a new job during the fall months, I know that I’ll need to build in some rest during this break and really soak in some solitude time when I’m at home. Going back to the office has definitely impacted my energy levels, so I’m looking forward to refilling my cup a bit over the break.

What do I want to accomplish during this break time? I have some business tasks that I do at the end of each year to prepare for upcoming events and client work. These typically include updating Prolific and creating course shells and updating syllabi for my coach training program. I know that I’ll want to make headway on both of these projects over the break.

What do I want to close out before the end of the year? This year, my partner and I are working on some house projects that I want to wrap up before the new year starts. Our kitchen and bathroom renovations should be done in mid-December and that will allow us to get our house back in order before 2022.

What routines will be most helpful for me? Since I’m used to weekdays filled with meetings, I’d like to have a bit of a plan for my schedule when my time is more unstructured. I’ll probably keep my early morning wake-up time on weekdays, and then set goals for each day of what I want to work on when. Keeping my regular morning and exercise routines will make it easier when I need to go back to work.

What am I going to build into my break just for fun? Fun looks different for everyone, but my fun is all about reading these days. I’m going to put together a small stack of books that I want to focus on during the break (I would guess these will be mostly mystery novels) and work my way through that pile. Since I’ve also been loving watching YouTube videos lately, I’ll also build in some time for that while I’m walking on my treadmill in the mornings.

What will help me transition back to the office at the end of the break? I know that I’ll want to make sure I go to the grocery store and have time to prep some meals before I go back to the office. Bulk prepping lunches has been a huge help to me each day since I don’t have to worry about making something in the morning and can just grab a container of food as I head out the door. 

What will rest look like during this period? I plan to stay on my normal sleep schedule, but I’d love to build in some naps when I can. I do love a good afternoon nap and I very rarely get them these days!

What other questions would you pose to help with planning for the winter break?