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Hello, People Places Pines readers! I want to be the first to welcome you all to 24W: winter term! After a long and refreshing break, I wanted to reflect on everything that I did in the six weeks I was away from classes and the techniques I adopted to revitalize both my physical and mental health before my busy four-course term.

On arriving back to my hometown, the first thing that I did was… sleep! Although I tend to overwork myself during the academic year and feel guilty when I don't have many tasks to accomplish, I've learned to recognize that one of the most important things to prioritize for yourself after an eventful term or semester is your physical wellbeing. After traveling for over 24 hours (and having multiple hour-long layovers in Charlotte and Denver), I definitely needed it. 

After a few days of pure relaxation (i.e. staying in bed and binge watching my favorite shows on Netflix), I spent the majority of my time at home fully indulging myself in the connections and relationships I had missed so dearly. Reconnecting with the friends and family that you will have left behind before college is refreshing and necessary, especially if you get homesick easily like me. Some of my favorite memories that I made over winter break was with my childhood friends as we baked holiday cookies, exchanged gifts, and spent time with one another before we each left for college once again.

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My hometown friends and I!

The rest of my break in my hometown was spent blogging and picking up shifts at a restaurant I had worked part-time at throughout high school! Although there were not many activities for me to partake in while being back home, I felt as if that was part of the rejuvenation process. I spent much of my time focusing on bettering myself mentally and physically for the upcoming term by adopting the following new self-care rituals: journaling, pilates, meditation, and hiking, all of which I did with a notebook, a pen, and self-guided YouTube videos--you don't need much to prioritize your health!

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A view from one of my many hikes at my local state park!

Now being back on campus for winter term, I am able to look back on my break with fondness and gratitude. I used to think that Dartmouth's six-week-long interim period was almost too lengthy, but I now reap the benefits of it, as I am fully ready and recharged to experience a new term of classes and activities, and I am ecstatic to bring you guys with me!

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