Tips for a fun and safe spring break

Monday, March 4, 2024 Tips for a fun and safe spring break

photo by asim alnamat [pexels]

Many students choose to travel or head home for spring break. Here are a few tips to keep spring break memorable for all the right reasons.

1. Rest up before and during road trips.

While it can be tempting to road trip overnight and figure out stops as you go, being tired while driving can have similar effects on your body to driving while drunk.

Studies have shown that being awake for 24+ hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of .10%. That is higher than the legal limit in every state. Instead, consider stopping at a hotel that you’ve researched prior to travel to ensure it is safe and clean.

If you must drive through the night, drive in shifts and make sure someone is staying awake with the person driving.

2. Protect your skin.

Sunburns don’t just happen at the beach. The sun’s UV rays are stronger at higher elevations. Whether you’re hiking mountains or hitting the beach, always use sunscreen and lip balm with SPF and reapply often.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. In addition to using sunscreen, consider wearing UPF clothing or staying in the shade to protect yourself from the sun.

3. Hydrate often.

Be sure you are drinking enough water throughout your trip. Being in the sun, drinking alcohol, and spending time in hot tubs can all dehydrate you. Keep a bottle of water with you throughout your trip so that you always have water available.

You may find it beneficial to use hydration boosters such as Liquid IV or Nuun to help combat dehydration.

4. Be smart around alcohol.

If you are of age and choose to drink, eat before and while you are out since an empty stomach can intensify the effects of alcohol. High protein foods slow the absorption of alcohol.

Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated and pace yourself.

Count any alcoholic drinks, and remember not all drinks are equal based on alcohol content. While each person’s metabolic rate is unique, the average person metabolizes about one drink each hour.

If you or friends are drinking, pay extra attention to your surroundings, especially while in unfamiliar places.

  • Don’t drink anything you didn’t see mixed/poured or that has been left alone.
  • Is everyone out on the balcony? Consider if the AirBnb balcony was really engineered to hold 20 college students at once.
  • If you walk to bars, make sure you know how to get back to where you are staying. Add the address to the notes on your phone or grab a hotel business card.
  • If you plan to get home using Uber or Lyft, charge up your phone to ensure it will have enough battery to last all night and still get you home. (As a backup, if you haven’t already, memorize a friend or family member’s contact information in case your phone dies.)
  • If plans change throughout the night, check in with your group to let them know your whereabouts.
  • If you’ll be around water, be extra cautious. Avoid boating or swimming while intoxicated.

5. Be careful with cannabis.

If you are traveling somewhere where marijuana is legal and decide to use it, be sure to research THC ahead of time in order to keep yourself safe. States like Colorado where marijuana has been legalized usually have resources you can use to recreate safely and responsibly.

  • Check potency.   When purchasing from a dispensary, ask the budtender to help you purchase cannabis products with a lower concentration of THC.
  • Follow serving sizes.   10 mg of THC in an edible is a serving size. If you have never used marijuana before, you may want to start with half a serving.
  • Go easy with edibles.   It can up to 2 hours for an edible to take, even longer for some people.
  • Use one substance at a time.   Don’t mix marijuana and alcohol.
  • Don’t drive under the influence of marijuana.   It is still a DUI.

When you return to Nebraska, do not cross state lines with marijuana as this can result in serious legal consequences. Possession of THC concentrate can be charged as a class IV felony.

6. Use condom sense.

Condoms and dental dams help prevent sexually transmitted infections. Have them handy even if you don’t plan on being sexually active – a friend might need it.

Safer Sex Kits with condoms and lube are available for at no cost at the Gender & Sexuality Center and other distribution points around campus and can also be requested online.

Remember, sexual contact without consent is sexual assault. Consent should be enthusiastic and freely given without pressure or being under the influence.

If you want to get ahead of the game, schedule an STI test at the University Health Center. University students who are 24 or younger and do not have or cannot use insurance, may qualify for sexual health services for free or reduced cost at the health center.

Call 402.472.5000 to schedule an appointment or learn more about the sexual and reproductive health services online.

7. Make time for self-care and helpful connection.

It can be tempting to fill up your schedule with activities while having time off for spring break, but remember to take time for things that are refueling to you as well.

Schedule activities to reflect on your mental health and make time to think about what you may need heading into the rest of the semester. Consider journaling; engaging in a new hobby; resting or recreating outside; and organizing your space.

If you will be traveling or busy most of your break, you can also focus on smaller breaks to yourself, even if this means simply implementing time daily to practice mindfulness, deep breathing, or going for a short walk.

Want more? Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) has a wide variety of self-guided mental health resources at your fingertips online.

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