February 27, 2024

COVID friendly activities to do in place of spring break

No spring break, no problem. Discover COVID-friendly ways to relieve stress and take a break from classes.

A blanket lies across the grass outside of the HSS Amphitheater on UT's campus.

Overwhelmed after UTK canceled Spring Break 2021? Check out a few ways to relax and recharge.

After The University of Tennessee, Knoxville announced the cancellation of the 2021 Spring Break due to concerns that travel would increase the spread of COVID-19, the pressure of maintaining a successful semester has drastically affected students.

Sustaining motivation and mental energy is already difficult during a normal semester; the elimination of any nature of a break period only expedites students’ point of burnout.

Breanna Poteat, a third-year Biomedical Engineering student, shares her experience of how the cancelation of Spring Break has made an effect on her semester.

“The lack of Spring Break has negatively affected me by not allowing me to take a mental and physical break from school and work,” Poteat said. “I have been working and attending school nonstop since sophomore year.”

While the continuous semester removes the excitement that comes with the anticipation of a week-long break, there are plenty of stress-relieving activities in Knoxville to compensate.

Hiking Trails

Hiking is a perfect (and COVID-19 friendly) day-time activity for you and a few of your friends. Not only is it a great workout, but the activity releases endorphins that will uplift your mood and lower your levels of stress and anxiety. Harvard Health Publishing provides extensive information on the science of how hiking acts as a stress-reliever.

Knoxville, Tennessee is surrounded by a plethora of interesting hiking trails that vary in levels of difficulty and provide both rewarding workouts and views. In addition to the trails mentioned, Alltrails is a user-friendly app that offers information about all the trails in the surrounding area.

Meads Quarry, near Ijams Nature Center, is the perfect local hiking location. Only five-and-a-half miles away from UTK’s campus, Meads Quarry provides pet-friendly, moderate hikes with beautiful views. If the weather permits, it is also a great location to take a swim.

House Mountain, located only 19 miles away from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s campus, is a four-and-a-half-mile moderate hike with two incredible overlooks. Providing a kicker workout the trail consists of a multi-mile uphill hike, two overlooks and then a steep downhill hike.

Charles Bunion is another moderate workout, and unlike House Mountain, it is more diverse with its uphill and downhill ratios. Although the trailhead, located at the Newfound Gap parking lot, is an hour and a half away from campus, this nine-mile hike is a great day-time adventure for you and a few of your fitness friends.


Picnics are the perfect springtime activity for students eager to relax. Not only are they low-budget, but it provides students–especially students that are strictly virtual–a chance to soak up some vitamin D while eating delicious foods.

If you do not have access to transit, do not fear! The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s campus is within walking distance to some perfect picnic spots. Starting with locations on campus, the HSS courtyard provides a relaxing, grassy area with an ideal space for blanket laying. If you are up for an easy 10-minute walk, Worlds Fair Park has a beautiful, flat area underneath the sun sphere.

Grab a five-dollar blanket, some of your favorite snacks, a couple of your closest friends and check out some of the great picnic locations near UTK.

Self-Care Day

Maintaining a self-care routine during the semester is not easy, however, it is extremely crucial to both the academic and mental success of students. If you are looking for a stress-relieving activity within the comfort of your home, clear a day within your busy schedule and dedicate it to investing in yourself.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to spend a self-care day. Light a candle, turn on your favorite series or embrace the snooze button.



Edited by Gracie-Lee Strange and Maddie Torres

Features photo courtesy of  Carly Ebersberger

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