16+ things to do this Winter Study Break

Yes, it's a good time to catch up on your academic life. But if you're looking to get away from your studies for a bit, the possibilities are endless.

Dalhousie's Studley Quad covered in snow Photo: Meghan Oliver

I hate to break it to you, but I’ve recently been made aware that once you become an adult you have to start entertaining yourself—and, yes, that means during winter break, too. No longer is our week off predetermined for us with dentist appointments, visits to Grandma’s house, and the one exclusive sleepover that we waited months for as a child. It’s on us now— I know, terrifying. But fear not—I have some ideas of things to do when you’re not catching up on your studies (and here are some great ideas of how to be productive with that aspect of Study Break).


Visit a farmers’ market

I’m not someone who gets out of bed for anything but I’m telling you there’s nothing more enticing than a fresh cinnamon bun and thus even I drag myself from the depths of my room in the wee hours of the morning for a little slice of heaven. If I can do it, so can you. (And maybe while you’re there grab a vegetable or two. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.)


Visit a flea market

First off, no, a flea market is not the same thing as a farmers’ market, but you already knew that. It’s not like I had to google it last week or anything. No, seriously though, flea markets are one of my favourite places to lose a few hours. They’re like a real life I Spy book—you never know what you might find!


Go for a stroll at Point Pleasant 

No, I don’t mean any park, I mean Point Pleasant Park (because, yes, there is a difference). If you’ve been with me since last semester then by now you know my heart and soul belongs to Point Pleasant. The scenery is beautiful—and by scenery, I mean the dogs—and there’s bound to be a day when the weather is in our favour. Do yourself a favour and go. For some it might be a bit of a hike out but it’s worth it. Pack a lunch or something!


Take up a new hobby

One of my “weaknesses” (as my mother puts it) is getting obsessed over a new hobby for a week at a time and then never touching it ever again. While this may seem like a negative to some (ahem, mom), think about it this way: you only really have a week off anyway! Who cares if you continue after that?


Take a tour of something

This is actually one of my suggestions that I will hopefully be doing. I plan on surprising my twin brother with a tour of the Alexander Keith’s Brewery over the break. If you’re a history nerd like we are—or interested in locally crafted beer (I can say that, we’re adults)—then I highly recommend this one. Alternatively, there are some fantastic museums in the downtown Halifax area. There’s even a parrot named Merlin at the Maritime Museum!


Go to the dentist

Look, I know I made a crack about this in my intro but, in all seriousness, maybe it’s time those chompers got a proper check-up, hmm?


Go absolutely off the rails and make a specially curated playlist for each of your friends

This one is time consuming, but there’s nothing more cathartic than listening to music with the sole intent of matching it to your friends’ tastes and personalities. Maybe my love language is just gift-giving, but there’s something undeniably special about putting in the time and thought needed to make something designed just for someone you care about. Call me a romantic but that’s the essence of life right there.



Along the same lines, try printing some of the hundreds of pictures I’m positive you took last semester and making a memento out of them. Maybe you can even make some pages—or whole separate scrapbooks (shoot for the moon)—dedicated to your friends and add their playlists to them.


Search up your astrological chart—like, your whole chart

Whether or not you believe in the power of the stars, we all can all admit that it’s fun to see how accurately they align with our personalities (unless you have literally any Aquarius placement, then you’ll probably deny it). I’m kidding—kind of—but seriously, give it a google. You need to know your place of birth and the time you were born and then viola! And for anyone wondering, I’m a Pisces sun, a Capricorn moon, and a Virgo rising!


Have a spa night

No explanation needed: self-care is the way of 2022. Grab your friends and a charcoal sheet mask and just vibe.


Learn a new recipe

Read: try not to burn the kitchen down. Maybe start simple with some cookies and work your way up. I’m not questioning your culinary skills, only writing based on my own (R.I.P. last week's baked ziti).


Start a journal

This is another highly recommended activity, one that will mentally benefit you long after the break is over. Having an outlet for your feelings is a necessary part of adulthood. You don’t need to write much (you don’t even have to write at all—art journals are wonderful) and you can even simply carve out a space in your notes app instead of using a physical book if that’s preferable. Either way, it’s worth having a safe space to express yourself.


Write some letters—mailing them is optional

This one is like journaling but it really homes in on our human need to tell the people we love—or the people we don’t—that we love them…or that we don’t. For whatever reason (usually politeness) there are times when we can’t say these things. I’ll be real, sometimes it sucks—another big part of being human is admitting when it simply sucks—but there are ways you can still say them, even if not out loud. To whoever is reading this: write that letter. It’s worth it.


However, if you so choose, mail those letters

Now, if you’ve gotten past the first step, it’s time to decide: to send or not to send. Personally, if it’s a love letter—even a platonic one—I say go for it. Nike should sponsor me for how often my motto is just do it. Life is too short and love is too wonderful. However, if it’s a little more complicated than that, just sit on it for a little while. There’s no timeline—you’ve got this!


Get obsessed with tie-dye

On a lighter note, along the same lines as finding a new hobby, it’s about time we fall back on our childhood to entertain ourselves. For me, that means going back to summer camp and staining my fingers for a solid four days with some questionable dyes.


Clean your bathroom—clean any room

You know it needs to be done, you’ve been saying you don’t have the time, and now you do! I’ll do it if you do.