Spring break signals the end of winter hibernation. It’s also a much anticipated breather from classes and your regular schedule.

Whether your plans take you to a warmer climate, your hometown, or keep you local, have a safe break and keep your well-being a priority.

If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Alcohol is not necessary to have a good time. But if your plans involve drinking, be sure to take steps to stay safe. Eat foods that are high in protein and fat before, during, and after drinking alcohol. This helps slow the rate alcohol is absorbed by your body. Pace yourself and drink no more than one drink per hour. Remember, one serving size is often smaller than the drink you are served. Always have a sober driver or know the taxi service numbers for the area you are in. Never leave your drinks, or your friends, unattended—especially in an unfamiliar area.

Be prepared for sexual situations. Know ahead of time what you are comfortable with and what your boundaries are. Remember, the only 100 percent effective way to prevent STIs and pregnancy is abstinence. However, condoms and other safe sex practices can lower your risks. Find more information about sexual health on Health Promotion and Wellness’ website.

Protect your skin. You’ve likely spent most of the winter indoors and your skin will be extremely sensitive to the intense rays of warmer climates. Regardless of the temps, always wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15. Reapply often, especially after sweating and swimming. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses with UV protection and use lip balm with SPF.

Take extra precautions. If your plans have you trying a new activity or traveling to a new place, plan ahead. If going outside of the country, check to see if any additional vaccinations are recommended or if there are any special safeguards you need to take. Wash your hands often, especially when traveling. Make a point to eat right and get plenty of sleep in order to keep your immune system healthy.

Just relax! Semesters always seem to go faster during the second half. Use spring break as a time to catch up on projects, life, and sleep. Set yourself up for success by returning to campus well rested and ready to tackle the rest of the semester.