Turn off Netflix, step away from the eggnog and make the most of winter break.

As cold weather and the holiday season arrive, so does the tendency to become unmotivated and ultimately bored. Although winter break is a welcome distraction from an undoubtedly stressful semester, don’t forget to make it count. After all, breaks are too few and far between to let them go to waste.

FIRST: Pick an intriguing

destination.

Funds permitting, traveling is a great way to not only learn about yourself but to explore a new destination you might not have even thought to visit. Road trips are an excellent way to make the most of break whether it’s visiting old friends or far-away family members.

Here are a few affordable, Texas weekend trips you might want to experience during winter break:

TRY: Fredericksburg, Texas

Things to do: While the town is known for its mix of German and Texas flavor, the real attraction is the hiking trail known as Enchanted Rock, which is open year-round. With the cool weather and amount of free time you’ll have, a semi-intense hiking trail might be the perfect antidote for a boring winter break.

TRY: Corpus Christi

& Mustang Island

Things to do: Although it’s too cold to dip your toes in the Gulf, there are plenty of attractions to keep you occupied. The USS Lexington as well as the Texas State Aquarium are thrilling sights for anyone interested in sea life. Alternatively, the small town of Port Aransas offers a great weekend experience for winter beach bums. The small town has great restaurants and an entertaining night life.

TRY: New Braunfels

Things to do: Much like Fredericksburg, this town is known for its fusion of Texas and German cultures. During the winter, the town’s famous waterpark, Schlitterbahn, turns into a winter wonderland complete with ice-skating rinks and a marketplace. Interested in something a bit more unusual? Visit Animal World and Snake Farm where you can play with exotic reptiles and animals not normally found in Texas.

SECOND: Keep your

mind sharp!

Although winter break is a great time to drink and binge on Netflix, it’s important to not become too engrossed in menial distractions. Make time to read, write or visit a museum to keep your mind sharp. Most students don’t get an opportunity to read for pleasure during a busy semester. Pick a seasonal or humorous book to keep your mind active as well as your creativity flowing. Writing is also an excellent way to express yourself; whether it’s an interesting winter break story or a fictional short story.

Museums are a great way to not only explore your hometown or college town, but also to expand your intellectual horizons. Did you find a historical topic interesting this past semester? Perhaps there is a stirring art exhibit featured at the SAMA or McNay. Wherever your interests lie, winter break is a great way to further explore your intellectual boundaries.

THIRD: Explore your city.

Whether you were born and raised in the Alamo City or you’re just here for school, take a few days out of the break to discover new treasures in San Antonio.

HOT SPOT: The Alamo Drafthouse

Reasons to go: The Alamo Drafthouse has many features that set it above the average standards of a movie theater. Beer, food and a zero-tolerance policy for talkers and “texters” makes this theater not only a great place to catch new releases, but to see classic films as well. The Drafthouse has quote-alongs, girl’s-night-out nights and more to set it apart from the typical movie-going experience.

HOT SPOT: Spurs Game

Reasons to go: No matter what city you hail from, you can’t live in San Antonio without experiencing a Spurs game. Whether you get lucky and experience our hometown team in the AT&T Center or you end up watching at a popular downtown bar, there’s nothing quite like Spurs fever. Experience the pride and joy of San Antonio, but don’t you dare cheer for the San Antonio rivals the Miami Heat!

HOT SPOT: Downtown

Reasons to go: Downtown San Antonio may seem like a tourist trap, but there are a few places that make our city a gem to live in. Downtown Tuesdays provides free parking at meters, garages and lots; many businesses also extend their hours and offer various discounts. If you’d rather go out on the weekend, experience First Friday. First Friday has a themed (usually seasonal) pub run for athletic drinkers as well as an art walk in Southtown.

FOURTH: Reconnect

with family and friends.

Winter break is an important chance to reconnect with friends from high school and family members you haven’t seen in months. If it’s your freshman year or your senior year, there’s nothing quite like seeing friends again and feeling like no time has passed. Seeing family can garner even more appreciation for them and seeing friends can rekindle a part of you left behind in high school.

The holidays can also bring back warm traditions that you may have forgotten about and provide a chance to relax and be yourself with those you are closest to.

FIFTH: Staying healthy

and fit.

Although Christmas cookies and Advent Calendar candy is delicious, it’s important to stay healthy and fit between all the turkey and candy binges. Exercising not only benefits your body but your mental well-being. Yoga, pilates and other indoor workout classes are great ways to have a relaxing and rewarding workout during the cooler weather. If you’ll be around for the holidays, take advantage of the Campus Rec; their holiday hours are reasonable and can help you maintain your exercise routine. Alternatively, make sure to portion your food intake as overeating in the winter is very common.

Overall though, just remember to have fun.

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