By Samantha Rice 
BELLEVILLE – With the holiday break drawing closer, it’s important for students to relax and enjoy their time off, Loyalist College ‘s wellness co-ordinator says.
Breaks are for students to rest and recover from the hard work they do, Ryan Stoness told QNet News this week.
“It’s a good time to kind of slow down and unwind,” he said.
Students’ stress levels were a concern a year ago because of the faculty strike that shortened semesters , he said.
But “this year we have a little bit more standard school practice, and everyone knew going into the semester what it would look like,” Stoness said. “It allows students to plan appropriately. Whether that means going home, or making travel plans, or spending time with friends and family, they’re able to do that with a little more certainty this year.”
But for some people the holiday break isn’t completely stress-free, he said.
Not every student comes from an amazing home and family situation, he noted, and the holiday break could be difficult for them: “It can bring back up hard times, potentially.”
Some students also face challenges when they go home, he said.
“There’s a lot of people in need who don’t have things they are able to celebrate … They may have challenges supplying food for the family; they might have trouble affording presents if they celebrate … And those are stressful things if you don’t have those capabilities to do that.”
The best way to de-stress over the break is to make sure to take time for yourself, Stoness said.
“First off is to make sure that you do get some rest and recovery time, because that’s what the breaks are built in for. So I like to encourage people to get a little extra sleep, a little extra time to sit around and spend time with their friends and family.
“I think it’s also important, with all the social opportunities that often happen over the season … to make sure that we try to still eat (healthily), that we try to still get outside, that we try to still get some exercise to make sure that our body and minds are connected and healthy.”
His hope is that students will “come back in January feeling refreshed and re-energized, ready to kind of tackle the next semester.”