Looking after your mental well-being over the Christmas break
Finley MacDonald is a Final Year Criminology and Psychology Student, with feature photography by Zoe Vangangelt
For many university students, the Christmas holidays can be extremely stressful; especially in the current climate. Although there is the excitement of being reunited with friends and family, the approaching assignment deadlines and exams in January make the Christmas “break” rather overwhelming.
The different circumstances we face this year mean that some students may not return home over the teaching break, meaning may not be able to physically connect with loved ones. In light of this, it is important to recognise these tips that can help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Balance studies and festive family time!
Finding a work-life balance is extremely difficult. As a final year university student, I still struggle with whether I should be re-watching Home Alone for the tenth time this week or whether I should attempt my 4 assignments that are due in 4 weeks!
Revision is important, but so are breaks
Make sure you take at least one day off a week to regenerate your energy.
- Don’t overload your schedule.
Your health is a priority and if your schedule becomes too stressful, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted.
- Take time off for the special dates
No one wants to be studying on Christmas Day! Plan a schedule that allows you to have 24th, 25th, 26th etc as “study-free” days.
- Prepare for the next semester
Start reading over some of your module handbooks for the next term. The earlier you start, the easier it will be!
Getting out of our warm beds to face cold weather is definitely not the best motivation. However, research shows that exercise releases chemicals in your body that makes you feel physically and mentally good. Plus, it helps you sleep better too… this means that it will go quicker until Santa comes!
Give back to the community!
Finding time to volunteer over the holidays can be hard, but it is something that helps us to reduce stress and improve a positive mindset. UWE offer many different volunteer roles that work well around studies and daily life, you can find them here: https://www.uwe.ac.uk/life/activities/volunteering/volunteering-opportunities
Talk/write about your feelings
There are always people available to speak about your mental health whether that is family, friends or helplines. Keeping a journal is a great way to ease anxiety if you struggle with talking.
Do Something You’re Good At
Enjoying yourself helps to beat stress. Making gifts for Christmas, baking mince pies or even singing “All I Want For Christmas is You” so loud that your family now hate it! Spend time away from the books and do something you enjoy.
We’re all human, we all struggle in life at times. Hopefully these tips can help you to recognise how to look after your mental health during this holiday. Remember to take time for yourself, we all need it after this year!