Student View: Surviving Christmas!
Written by Megan Wallbanks on 08 Dec 2022
It's that time of the year again. The twinkly lights are up and suddenly everyone is singing Mariah Carey. Ahh, Christmas! A time to relax, spend time with your loved ones, and share some holiday cheer.
But for some of us students, it's not always the jolliest time of the year. The initial thought of going home, spending time with family, and drinking hot chocolate every day sounds exciting until you remember deadline season is fast approaching and that 4,000 word essay isn't going to write itself. Suddenly, your festive season is filled with stress and anxiety. Trust me, I feel your pain! So here are my four top tips for managing academic stress and keeping your mental health in check, whilst still enjoying your Christmas break.
- Plan a timetable
Whether you're going home for Christmas or staying at Uni, I’d recommend planning your workload in advance. Set all your tasks in priority order and get into a productive routine. For example, dedicate some days for revision and others for essay writing. This will make the workload feel more manageable and less overwhelming.
But while doing this, it's important to remember to make sure your timetable is achievable, so you don’t burn yourself out with unrealistic goals. That’s counterproductive!
- Take regular breaks
It’s important to take some time off from your studies and enjoy your Christmas break. Spend time with your loved ones, go on country walks, bake some cookies and watch Home Alone for the hundredth time! Prioritise activities that make you feel good.
Sometimes it's easy to feel guilty for taking time off but I promise, it will do you the world of good. Incorporate productive breaks and self-care into your timetable, because getting plenty of rest and pampering yourself is the best form of productivity.
- Try not to overindulge
I’m going to get scientific on you here, but it's an important point that we all should know. When your body is under stress, it produces a hormone called cortisol which prepares you for the ‘fight or flight’ response. I don’t want to be a party pooper, but alcohol also increases cortisol levels, and this does not mix well with the additional student stress and anxiety.
We all know that the festive season involves drinking more alcohol than usual. So, consider taking it steady on the Prosecco or even consider alcohol-free drinks this Christmas.
- Look after your fellow students
Whilst it is crucial to focus on your own mental wellbeing, it is also important to remember to check in on others. Christmas isn't always a happy time for everyone. On top of Uni pressure, it can also be an extra stressful time for many other reasons.
For example, it's not always possible for international students to fly home for the holidays and see their loved ones. So, make sure you offer your support and let them know you’re there, so they don’t feel alone. Sometimes it's the smallest acts of kindness that can have the biggest impact.
With all that being said, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it's always good to have a break from student life and focus on yourself. If you find yourself struggling with your mental health more than usual around this time, please don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. You’re never alone.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and go smash your studies!
By Megan Wallbanks
Marketing student and fashion lover