Radford University’s Winter Break Bucket List


Happy new year, Highlanders!

With the start of classes still weeks away, here are a few tips and suggestions to break the post-holiday lull, including some from Radford University’s very own experts.

Continue to slow the spread

Just because you’re not on campus doesn’t mean you should forget about the COVID-19 guidelines: adhere to them wherever you go.

While you’re out and about or just hanging at home, always remember to practice Radford University’s “Do the Five.”

  • Wash your hands!
  • Wear a mask!
  • Avoid touching your face!
  • Maintain physical distancing!
  • Stay home if you feel sick!

It is also very important to limit how much you travel during break. Stay close to home. If you’re planning to get together with a small group of friends, suggest meeting at an open-air space, such as a park or farmers market. Be sure to limit these gatherings to less than 10 people.

Consider downloading Virginia’s free COVIDWISE app to track possible exposure to the virus.

Get a flu shot!

Why, you ask? Radford University Carilion assistant professor of public health Meagan Helmick explains:

“A flu shot can be the barrier that keeps you from getting sick at a time when you want your immune system to be as strong as possible. Avoiding the flu is especially important this year as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The healthier you are, the less chance you have of a virus impacting you.”

Take a break from social media

Throughout the past several months, you’ve spent countless hours connecting with friends and family on Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. Give your eyes and mind a break and step away from the screen for an hour or two, or even an entire day. What to do in the meantime? Practicing mindfulness is a great way to relax and focus on the present.

“Mindfulness is about being fully aware of present moment-to-moment thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations in regards to whatever is happening, without the lens of judgment,” explained Alan Forrest, Ed.D., a professor in the department of counselor education. “It consists of cultivating awareness of the mind and body and living in the here and now. Mindfulness is the practice of simply observing, watching, examining and becoming aware of our authentic self.”

Snail mail

There’s nothing like getting a handwritten note in the mail. This meaningful gesture will definitely bring a smile to someone’s face. Consider writing your favorite professor or someone who has supported you on your Radford University journey. Dress up your notes with stickers and other fun decorators, and encourage your recipient to return the favor.

According to assistant professor of psychology Stirling Barfield, Psy.D. '16, research shows that those who send positive letters to others report higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction and lower levels of depressive symptoms. Also, those who receive a positive letter also report they “feel more loved.”

Master a favorite recipe

The popular pandemic sourdough bread? Mom’s chewy chocolate brownies? Or your grandma’s famous biscuits? Practice a beloved recipe at home so you can show it off to your roommate(s) when you return to campus.

During Homecoming 2020, Radford University’s very own Alumni Relations team held a “chrusties” bake-off. Learn more about this nostalgic recipe – a hit among Highlander alumni – and see it in action below:

Virtual Homecoming 2020 “chrusties” bake-off

Take a break from your textbook        

Grab a cozy blanket, a cup of hot cocoa and snuggle up with a good book.

Check out some of 2020’s best-sellers.

Get some exercise

2020 was stressful, to say the least. Keep your physical and mental health in check with a regular exercise routine.

Associate professor of health and human performance Laura Newsome, Ph.D., offers some handy workout tips:

“Consider engaging in physical activity once or twice daily that includes brief periods (30-90 seconds) of greater intensity. Resistance training can reduce symptoms of anxiety for individuals with and without an anxiety disorder.

“Weightlifting using exercise equipment or household items (textbooks, canned goods, milk jugs filled with water, paint cans) may help us to reduce the negative effects of stress and anxiety. Consider using exercise as a strategy to maintain health during this stressful period. Although many things feel beyond our control right now, we do have the ability to be creative and to build physical activity and exercise into each of our days. We may even look back on this difficult time as the turning point when we learned new ways to build our emotional resilience and our physical health.”

Give blood

During the coronavirus pandemic, donated blood is needed more than ever. According to the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), every two seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion.

Find a blood drive near you on the Red Cross website.

Have a “you” day

Treat yourself to an in-home spa day. How about a Netflix binge? Take a long walk in a local park or your neighborhood. Whatever you do, do something that makes you feel good about yourself and takes your mind off the challenging year that it’s been. YOU deserve it!

Play with your pet(s), or consider adopting one!

You know they’ve missed you while you’ve been away. Buy your precious pups or kitties a new toy and spend some quality time together. Play has been shown to lower stress in both you and your pet.


Jan 6, 2021
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150