Top Ten Winter Break Ideas for HCPS Teachers

There’s little doubt that Hillsborough County Public School teachers are some of the most creative, hard-working, resilient, and brilliant educators in the country. Sure, we here at Hillsborough Education Foundation might be a little biased with that perspective, but let’s be honest: how could we not be? After all, we get to witness the incredible impact you make with your students and the community on a day-to-day basis…and the results are nothing short of incredible (and inspiring).  

So, with the 1st half of the year soon to be in the books, and Winter Break on the horizon, we thought we’d give you a few ideas on how to get the most out of your well-deserved time off. 

#10 – Resist the Urge to Immediately Dive into Work 

We know the struggle is real. You’ve got time off and may want to get a head start on the upcoming year or perhaps grade some papers. Our advice: don’t dive right in. If possible, wait a few days before tackling work. Remember, you’ve earned this time off. 

#9 – Get Some Quality Sleep 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 1 in 3 adults in the United States reported not getting enough rest or sleep every day. This alarming statistic highlights the impact of sleep deprivation on various aspects of life, including heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, depression, and even an increased risk of death. 

Look, the Holidays are just about here, and we certainly don’t want to cast a shadow over them with all this serious talk, but really—get some quality shut-eye. It will make a world of difference. 

#8 – Pamper Yourself  

Are you noticing a theme here? Good. That’s intentional. 

Now ask yourself this: when’s the last time you spent a day at the spa? How about a back and neck rub from a licensed massage therapist? Maybe a day at the beach is more your style? Regardless of what floats your boat, it’s important recognize the self-care activities like the ones listed above are extremely beneficial for both mental and physical health. 

Pencil-in a day that’s just for you. You’ll thank us later. 

#7 – Spend Time in Nature 

Very few things are more therapeutic than getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city (or suburbs, for that matter) and spending some quality time in nature. Luckily, Hillsborough County has no shortage of outdoor recreation destinations that will provide you with a wide variety activities. 

Some of HEF’s favorites:  

#6 – Enjoy the Food! 

There’s some conventional wisdom floating around out there in the ether which states—without merit—that the average person gains somewhere between 5 and 15lbs after the Holidays.  

There’s just one problem with that: it’s not true. At all 

Now, we’re not saying to throw caution to the wind and overindulge in every plate that comes your way, but what we are saying is this: there’s no denying that a big part of the Holidays is the food, and living in fear of plateful of snickerdoodles and a glass of eggnog doesn’t seem like a great way to enjoy the festivities. 

As with anything of this nature, your best bet is to consult your doctor if you have dietary concerns or restrictions. 

#5 – Discover or Rediscover a Hobby 

An extended break is a perfect opportunity to find a new hobby—or rekindle the flame with a past one. Whether it’s painting, photography, cooking, or even a sprawling model train set that takes up an entire room (or rooms), there’s plenty of evidence that says hobbies are good for your health and wellbeing. 

#4 – Take Some Time to Reflect on the Past Semester 

As you enjoy your break, take some time to reflect on the past semester. What were some of the highlights? What did you achieve that you’re especially proud of? Write down a list of things that went well and reflect on why they went well. Then, do the same for some things that possibly didn’t go as planned. 

An activity like this not only helps you develop a sense of gratitude—and the realization that many of your efforts were successful, but also helps you reflect on some areas that might need some added focus in the new year. 

#3 – Savor the Time You Spend with Friends and Family 

The Holidays can mean many things to many different people; however, if there is a consensus, spending time with friends and family would surely be near the top of that list (like it is here). And while having your house stuffed full of relatives—or being stuffed into a relative’s house full of, well, your relatives—might not be the most relaxing thing in the world, it’s important not to avoid it. Same goes for attending a “zany” holiday theme party thrown by one of your friends. Yes, you might roll your eyes at yet another “ugly holiday sweater” party thrown by a friend, but don’t be a total Grinch about it. 

Get out there and be social. It will make you feel better about the next item on our list. 

#2 – Schedule Some Guilt-Free Alone Time 

Teachers give so much of themselves during a school year that we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just kicking back and watching a whole lot of Netflix (or whatever your favorite streaming platform is) during the holiday break. You need time to recharge for the next semester, and recharging requires some downtime. 

Are you on hour six of a Stranger Things marathon? Great. Planning on binging every season of Game of Thrones. Wonderful. Just go into Season 8 with some low expectations and you’ll come out reasonably entertained. 

#1 Follow Hillsborough Education Foundation on Facebook, X, Instagram, and LinkedIn 

Yeah, we know… it’s a shameless plug, but hear us out! At Hillsborough Education Foundation, we hold Hillsborough County Public School teachers in high regard. Your dedication leaves us in awe daily. We’re your biggest fans and want to cheer loudly while singing your praises. So, in the immortal words of Jerry Maguire—and we’re paraphrasing here, “Help us, help you!” 

Plus, we’re always highlighting some cool stories that you’re undoubtedly going to want to share with friends and family. Social links are below: