We all look forward to the holiday break because of the gatherings, decorations, warm cookies, and welcome time away from our daily schedules. A nagging question can creep in amid the holiday cheer: “What should I do with all this free time?” Well, you don’t have to worry about that his year.

Instead of watching TV reruns, embrace the potential for productivity this holiday season.

Don’t know where to start? Well, this blog isn’t about stuffing your time off catching up on work or household chores Rather, it’s about investing your free time strategically in order to emerge refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on 2024.

Personal Growth

This winter break is the perfect time to invest in yourself and grow as a person. In the new year, you can explore new interests, reconnect with yourself, and plan for success without worrying about school or work. To get you started, here are some ideas.

1. Work on a personal project.

Are you still working on that novel you started years ago? What about that online course you bookmarked? Have you forgotten about the DIY furniture revamp you planned? Bring them back to life!

While on break, you can finally get started on that personal project you’ve been putting off. Get started by setting realistic goals, breaking them down into manageable steps, and dedicating a few hours each day to making progress.

It’s okay if you don’t finish that project you’ve been putting off. The momentum of finally starting your project will help you finish it.

2. Challenge yourself.

Make a goal for yourself that you want to achieve, whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional, like signing up for a 5K or learning a new language. Taking risks and breaking out of your comfort zone can boost your confidence and resilience.

3. Become a bookworm.

Do you have trouble finding time to read? Now is the perfect time to do the following:

  • Dive into that “to-read” pile. Don’t be afraid to dust off your paperbacks and e-readers. Enjoy gripping thrillers, philosophical masterpieces, or lighthearted rom-coms to spark your imagination and expand your horizons. There is also a social element to book club discussions, providing an opportunity for insightful discussion.
  • Explore a new genre. You don’t limit yourself to your usual literary genres. Take a trip to the past with historical fiction, explore the future with science fiction, or discover poetry. Your literary palate might expand if you discover a new favorite genre.
  • Listen to audiobooks. Take advantage of your holiday travels, commute, chores, and walks to learn. Listening to audiobooks allows you to absorb knowledge and stories without holding them. Another way to stimulate your intellect is to listen to podcasts on a broad range of topics.

4. Write your story.

Everyone has a story to share — even you. There is always something to share with the world, whether it is your life experiences, hobbies, or professional advice.

Take advantage of your break by starting a journal, a blog, or a novel. Perhaps you could even use your creativity to create a fictional story or poem that captures the season’s magic.

5. Embrace the inner artist.

No. Your goal shouldn’t be to become the next Picasso. Nevertheless, you can still paint, draw, and sculpt.

Consider taking a class, joining a local art group, or simply experimenting with different mediums to increase your artistic skill level.

6. Boost your health.

During the holidays, we often overindulge. The holidays can still be enjoyed, but you can balance this out by joining a gym, taking a new yoga class, or simply taking a daily walk in the crisp winter air.

Be sure to focus on your mental health as well. Practicing mindfulness or meditation, for example, can bring you inner peace. As such, welcome the new year with introspection and set intentions.

7. Detox your digital life.

Take this time to finally unsubscribe from unnecessary emails, organize your files, and take a break from social media. After that, reconnect with the real world and rediscover the joy of disconnecting.

8. Deal with your financial to-do list.

It’s no secret that finances can be a source of stress for many of us. Take advantage of your break by taking care of any financial tasks you have been putting off.

Consider reviewing your budget, creating a spending plan for the upcoming year, preparing your taxes, or researching ways to save money on everyday expenses. In the new year, you can feel empowered and have peace of mind if you take control of your finances.

9. Recharge and reconnect.

When you are not working, it is best to spend your downtime recharging and reconnecting. The following are some suggestions you might find helpful:

  • Plan a solo retreat. Get back in touch with yourself by disengaging from the digital world. Spend a weekend at a cozy cabin, head to a nearby park, or simply relax at home. Take time to unplug, reflect, and rediscover the joy of solitude.
  • Spend time with loved ones. Don’t forget to spend time with the people who matter most to you. Make the most of the season by hosting a festive gathering, playing board games, or simply curling up by the fireplace and sharing stories. Enjoy the moments of connection during the holidays and strengthen the bonds that make them memorable.
  • Embrace the power of nature. Enjoy a walk in the crisp winter air, stargaze on a clear night, or simply sit by the fire. Being surrounded by nature brings a sense of calm, reduces stress, and boosts creativity.

10. Reflect on the past year.

While you are on break, take a moment to reflect on the past year. Was there anything that went well? Is there anything you could have done differently? Do you have any goals for the new year?

Setting future intentions can be achieved through journaling, meditation, or even simply reflecting over a cup of hot tea.

Professional Development

Winter break is a chance to relax, reflect, and grow, but it can also serve as a time for professional development. The following are a few tips for making the most of your time off:

11. Declutter and organize.

Like raisins in a fruitcake, clutter accumulates at your workplace throughout the year. Take advantage of your break to declutter and reclaim your space.

Make a list of what you no longer need, donate or sell it, and create a storage system for the rest. A clean and organized work environment can boost productivity, reduce stress, and give you a fresh perspective. In addition, it will be more sanitary during the cold and flu season.

12. Network like a pro.

Take part in industry events, reconnect with old colleagues, or reach out to mentors if you can. Ideally, you should build professional relationships that will improve your career prospects.

13. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile.

The break is the perfect time to polish your career documents and make yourself stand out in the job market.

14. Learn a new industry skill.

Learn more about your field through an online course, a workshop, or a shadowing experience. Doing so will keep your skills up to date by investing in your professional development.

If you aren’t looking for a new job, this could help you negotiate a raise or promotion.

15. Strengthen your soft skills.

Despite the importance of hard skills, soft skills have become more important.

In the workplace, soft skills are attributes and interpersonal skills that enable us to function effectively. Among their many abilities are:

  • Communication. Verbal and written communication, active listening, and nonverbal communication fall under this category.
  • Teamwork. This is the ability to accomplish a goal together with others.
  • Problem-solving. The ability to identify and analyze problems and find solutions is included here.
  • Critical thinking. Critical thinking involves evaluating information objectively and drawing sound conclusions.
  • Time management. This is all about being able to plan and organize your work efficiently.
  • Leadership. Having the ability to motivate and inspire others.
  • Adaptability. In adaptability, a person can accommodate new circumstances and changes in their environment.
  • Resilience. Your ability to bounce back from setbacks is what makes you resilient.

16. Start a side hustle.

This is your chance to turn your passion into profit, whether you want to earn extra income or start a new career. You can consider several options, such as creating a blog, writing for a freelance company, or opening an online store.

17. Volunteer your time.

Donate your time to a local organization to give back to the community. It’s a rewarding way to put your skills to use and make a positive impact on the world.

In addition, this allows you to network and enhance your skills.

18. Build your personal brand.

Personal branding has become increasingly important in today’s world. Consider creating a website or social media presence that showcases your expertise and interests. This can be a valuable tool for attracting future opportunities.

19. Read industry publications and blogs.

You can finally stay on top of your field’s latest trends and developments if you haven’t had the time to do so.

It is important to remember that knowledge is power, and it can guide your career choices in the future.

20. Apply for internships and jobs.

Tis the season for job postings!

Look for internships and jobs on job search websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Handshake during your free time. The holidays are a great time to learn about and apply for internships and post-graduation jobs, so stay informed and look for opportunities you may be interested in.

Most companies hire in January and February, so if you’re already in the workforce, the perfect time to apply gives you a headstart.

Creative Pursuits

Make the most of your winter break by letting your creativity run wild!

In the absence of routine, free time offers endless possibilities for discovering new pursuits and rekindling old passions. Check out these ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

20. Spark your imagination.

  • Dive into writing. You might want to try writing a short story or poem about the winter scenery or journaling about your adventures.
  • Paint a winter wonderland. You can capture the beauty of the season on canvas — even if you’re a beginner. Get creative with different mediums, such as watercolors, acrylics, and pastels, to see what works best for you.
  • Compose a winter song. Make your winter break come alive with music. Try learning a new instrument, writing holiday lyrics, or recording yourself playing a festive song.

21. Embrace the cozy vibes.

  • Knit a cozy scarf or blanket. You can create something valuable and warm to enjoy all winter with yarn and needles.
  • Craft festive decorations. You can add a personal touch to your holiday decor with DIY projects ranging from snowflakes to gingerbread houses.
  • Bake delicious treats. Discover recipes that inspire your winter baking, such as gingerbread cookies, hot cocoa bombs, and snowman cakes. Share your creations with friends and family.

23. Explore new skills.

  • Learn a new language. Learn a few phrases in another language using online resources or apps. It is a fun way to learn about different cultures and traditions.
  • Master a new craft. You can learn calligraphy, origami, or even soap-making. To get started, there are numerous online tutorials and workshops available.
  • Pick up a new instrument. Have you ever wanted to learn how to play the guitar or piano? Take advantage of your winter break to finally give it a go.

24. Enjoy the wintery outdoors.

  • Photography. Discover the beauty of snowy landscapes, twinkling lights, and playful winter activities by taking photos.
  • Nature art. Build snow sculptures, arrange ice lanterns, or make nature-inspired collages with winter treasures.
  • Ice skating. Make the most of the season by gliding on the ice and getting active.
  • Snowball fights and building snowmen. Get back to your childhood by enjoying winter with friends and family.

25. Build relationships.

  • Holiday workshops. Attend workshops in your area to learn new skills like wreath making, pottery painting, or calligraphy.
  • Online challenges. You can join online creative challenges and prompts to learn from other artists and get inspired.
  • Community theater. Come out of your shell and audition for a play or musical this winter or upcoming year.


What are some productive things I can do besides studying or working during the holidays?

During the holidays, you have many options for staying productive that don’t involve academics or work. The following ideas may be helpful:

  • Personal development. Take a course that teaches you something new, like coding, writing, or playing an instrument. You can also consider taking an online course, reading a self-improvement book, or attending a workshop.
  • Creative pursuits. Take up a hobby such as writing, painting, drawing, or playing music. Or, you can start a blog or podcast. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different media and styles.
  • Physical activities. Find a new sport or workout routine that you enjoy. Enjoy the outdoors by hiking, biking, or walking in nature. You could also get involved with a local shelter or food bank by volunteering.
  • Reconnect with loved ones. Get together with friends and family to spend time together. Make plans to watch movies, play games, or go on an outing together.
  • Home improvement projects. Take on that DIY project you’ve been putting off. Give your home a fresh coat of paint, organize your belongings, or declutter your workspace.
  • Travel. Visit a national park, explore a new city, or go on a weekend getaway. There are many benefits to traveling, including relaxation and enrichment.

How can I stay motivated and avoid procrastination during the break?

  • Set realistic goals. Don’t overload yourself with too many tasks at once. Make sure your goals are broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Schedule your time. Schedule your chosen activities for specific times during the day. You will be able to stay focused and avoid distractions if you do this.
  • Find an accountability partner. Be sure to check in regularly with a friend or family member to keep them informed of your progress.
  • Reward yourself. Never underestimate the importance of celebrating your accomplishments. You will be motivated to keep going if you do this.
  • Take breaks. Keep yourself refreshed by relaxing and recharging! Whether you enjoy reading, watching movies, or spending time outside, schedule time for your favorite activities.

How can I balance productivity with relaxation and enjoyment during the holidays?

The holidays should be both productive and enjoyable. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Set boundaries. You do not need to be available 24 hours a day. Establish time limits and let people know you’re taking a break.
  • Focus on quality time. Whenever you have time to spend with loved ones, make the most of it. Focus on being present instead of looking at your phone.
  • Choose activities that bring you joy. Just because something seems productive, don’t force yourself to do it.
  • Be flexible. Follow a flexible schedule instead of a rigid one. Go with the flow and be spontaneous.
  • Prioritize your well-being. Take care of your health by getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods. By doing so, you will stay focused and energized.

What if I’m feeling overwhelmed and just want to relax?

During the holidays, it’s perfectly okay to just relax! You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. Several ideas are listed below:

  • Unplug from technology. Don’t spend too much time on social media, email, and your phone. You will be able to de-stress and recharge as a result of this.
  • Spend time in nature. You can hike, sit by a lake, or simply enjoy the fresh air.
  • Do something you love. Spend some time reading, listening to music, or relaxing in the tub.
  • Meditate or practice yoga. Taking part in these activities can help you lower stress levels and improve your focus.
  • Sleep in. You don’t need to set an alarm. Taking a little extra time to rest is okay.

Image Credit: George Milton; Pexels