Students recharge and destress during winter break


Frannie Poulos

Frannie Poulos (9) and her family get together with their extended family over winter break. Through celebrating Christmas, they take a photo with “santa” as one of their holiday activites.

Winter break can’t come soon enough for VHHS students. Although they were eager to jump back into the groove of things after online school, this will feel like the first real and deserved break since in-person school started. Listening to music, practicing meditation, and spending time with family are just some of the ways VHHS students plan to relieve stress over break.

A few upperclassmen have given some helpful examples of how they hope to destress during break.

Lesley-Ann Benjamin

Lesley-Ann Benjamin (12, she/her), plans on traveling out of town to see her family and friends in Georgia for holiday celebrations.

“We eat a lot of culturally traditional foods like jollof. It is a Ghanian food that’s always at every family event,” said Benjamin.

Eating traditional foods with her family always brings her joy, as she’s been eating jollof since she was young. Benjamin anticipates that she may be the one to cook jollof at upcoming family events, and to her, that sounds overwhelming.

To calm these nerves and her everyday stresses, Benjamin chooses to meditate. By using the app “Calm,” she is able to relax and find comfort. Benjamin has a recommendation when it comes to relaxing.

“Find a way that’s best for you and not for other people,” said Benjamin.

Benjamin cannot wait to continue family traditions and cool off during winter break.

Sam Glazer

Sam Glazer (11, he/him) submitted this story idea, as he feels it would be beneficial for VHHS students to learn about ways to recharge during break. The first thing Glazer recommends is to decompress.

“Turn off the worry in your brain. If you don’t have that part turned off, are you really relaxing during break?” he asked.

Glazer wonders if those worries will cause students to be more overwhelmed, so he provided some suggestions.

“Physical exercise is very important. Being physical relieves stress and anxiety. It helps your attention span,” said Glazer.

According to a CDC study on Benefits of Physical Activity, physical activity does reduce the likelihood of mental illnesses and unwanted stresses.

Glazer hopes that students will take advantage of these recommendations in order to have a stress-free and healthy break.

Ariana Oshiro

Like many other students, Ariana Oshiro (11, she/her), is excited to celebrate Christmas with family and listen to music.

“I love listening to music when I’m stressed, or I just talk things out with someone,” said Oshiro.

When it comes to family time during break, Oshiro and her family have some fun Christmas traditions.

“We eat before 12 a.m., we open presents at 12 a.m., and set off fireworks at 5 p.m.”

Oshiro and her family have been doing these traditions for years. They also always eat the classics—turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing—but also rice and other Peruvian dishes. She is looking forward to celebrating with her family soon.

Connor Papantony

Connor Papantony (12, he/him) is also looking forward to seeing family and hopes to play games, celebrate Christmas, and call his extended family during break.

“I’m planning on celebrating holidays with my family. Especially since school started up again, I’ve had less time to spend with them than I did during quarantine,” said Papantony.

Some Papantony family Christmas traditions include playing Sorry! and opening one present on

Christmas Eve, and then unwrapping the rest the day of Christmas.

Other than celebrating the holidays, Papantony wants to dedicate some time for himself to decompress.

“When I’m stressed out, I also tend to listen to music and sing.”

Like other VHHS students, Papantony finds comfort in music.

He also provided another destressing mechanism:

“My recommendation is to breathe. Just breathe out longer than you’re breathing in,” said Papantony.