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9 Ways to Avoid Holiday Stress During School

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Thanksgiving may be over, but the holiday season is in full swing! Stress is almost expected this time of year, but when coupled with the pressures of being a student, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are nine ways to enjoy the season and wrap up the semester while keeping your sanity.

1. Don’t procrastinate on schoolwork.

If you’re the type of person who waits til the last minute because you “work better under pressure,” it’s time to think again. The term will be over before you know it, and “tomorrow” will be a day too late. Pay strict attention to due dates. There won’t be time for an extension if classes are over!

2. Check and double check your exam schedule.

Watch the calendar when it comes to exams, too! Some colleges or professors may not require final exams, but many if not most still do. Make sure you know when the exams will be held for each of your classes so you have adequate time to study and you know when to show up for the tests. They may be held on different days or at different times than the class normally meets.

3. Arrange your travel plans.

If you’ll be going home for the winter break between semesters, make sure your travel plans are already in place. Airline tickets and even gasoline are generally pricier during the holiday season, so the sooner you have things in place, the better. And by all means, make sure you will still be at school during your scheduled exams (see number two above).

4. Make lists of your likely holiday purchases.

Purchasing gifts for friends and family is one of the best aspects of the holidays—okay, getting presents isn’t too bad, either! To avoid last-minute runs to the store, make a list of everyone you plan on purchasing something for. If the list winds up being as long as your arm, consider making homemade presents or offering baked goods in place of a pricy present. Your friends will understand because they’re in the same boat.

5. Don’t spend more than you can afford.

If you’re living on a limited budget, as most students are, resist the urge to overspend. It’s easy to swipe that credit card rather than pay with cash, but cards also make it easy to go way over budget. You won’t want to be paying off presents you bought in December for the next five or six months, especially if you’re racking up student loans at the same time.

6. Get together with friends.

Be sure to hang out with your college friends before heading home for the holidays. You probably won’t see them for a few weeks, so hang out or go out for dinner and relax before exams and everyone leaves town.

7. Watch what you eat.

It’s easy to eat poorly when you’re busy with school, work, and getting ready for Christmas. First and foremost, make sure you do eat. Surviving on coffee may seem easier, but you’ll eventually crash and burn. Pay attention to what you eat, though. Balanced meals throughout the day can work wonders for your physical and mental well-being, which is important when dealing with holiday stress.

8. Get physical.

Exercise is important, too! Hit the gym or at least make a point to walk to and from class every now and then rather than ride the bus. When you’re studying or working on a final project, get up and stretch a few times an hour. Sitting hunched over your laptop can give you a horrible backache, and staring at the screen for hours can give you a headache, too.

9. Prioritize. It’s okay to say no.

Many people feel guilty when turning down invitations or requests, but there’s nothing wrong with saying “no” every now and then. It’s important to take breaks from studying and spend time with friends, but a term paper that will count toward one-fourth of your final grade is a little more important than, say, grabbing some coffee and seeing a movie. Put things into perspective and prioritize.

If you still have so much going on that you feel like you’re treading water, pause for a minute and take a deep breath. Close your eyes and remind yourself that this too shall pass, and January will be here before you know it!


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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