Looking After Yourself During the Holidays

Christmas is just around the corner - where has the term gone! We know that the holidays can be a challenging time for many reasons, so whether you’re traveling back to your family home, or spending the break somewhere else, it’s important to think about how you’re going to look after yourself and those around you. We’ve put some tips together to help you have a restful break, and where to get help if you need it.

Christmas is just around the corner - where has the term gone! We know that the holidays can be a challenging time for many reasons, so whether you’re traveling back to your family home, or spending the break somewhere else, it’s important to think about how you’re going to look after yourself and those around you. We’ve put some tips together to help you have a restful break, and where to get help if you need it.

Reaching out

While many students will be traveling home for the holidays at the end of term, there will be many reasons why some will not be able to return to their families or may choose to spend the holidays alone. For some, this may be a welcome change, but for others, it may be a source of considerable stress. However you feel about your holiday arrangements is valid, and we should be mindful that others around us may be having a very different break from us.    

For this reason, it is important to stay in touch with family and friends over the break. You could organise a festive catch-up, movie night, or even just send a quick text to check in with someone you know who might be struggling. For those who are spending the holidays alone, or with family they don’t have the best relationship with, taking the time over the holidays to connect with the people you want to be with can be invaluable. If you want some more ideas about how to celebrate holidays while apart from loved ones, check out this article

If you’re staying on campus, keep an eye out for more information about Christmas events and opening hours on the Student Intranet.       

Looking after yourself

As well as keeping in touch with other people, it’s important to make time for yourself over the break too! You may have coursework or revision to be doing, so establishing a routine and clear boundaries between work and rest will be essential in giving you a headstart for whatever the new year may bring. Here are our top tips for building a healthy routine:

  • Work out what you need to get done over the break and split this into manageable sections to tackle one at a time.
  • Make sure to build in time each day to go outside- as winter closes in, getting enough sunlight will be invaluable to boost your mood, and getting exercise each day will help to tackle any holiday stresses.
  • Focus less on productivity- while this may seem counterintuitive, beating yourself up when you don’t manage to get everything on your to-do list for the day done won’t be helpful in the long run. If you’re struggling with “toxic productivity” check out this video for some tips about how to tackle it.
  • Practise digital wellbeing to keep an eye on how you’re engaging with social media.
  • Do something for someone else - as well as keeping an eye on your friends who may be struggling, the holidays are a great time to get involved in some community volunteering if you are able. For example, food banks are predicted to be busier than ever this winter - have a look at the ways you can help here. If you don’t have anyone to spend Christmas with, volunteering with Crisis in one of their day centres over the Christmas period can be a great way to connect with others and give back.
  • Make time every day to practice self-care - check out our article about mental health and wellbeing for some ideas!

Support available if you’re struggling

We know the holidays can be a difficult time for many people, for various reasons. If you’re finding it difficult to cope, there are services available over the break to offer you support.

If you’re on campus, you can find out how to get help in an emergency here. The NHS doesn’t shut down over Christmas, so in the event of a mental or physical health crisis, the emergency services can be contacted at any time by calling 999. For advice about urgent issues, you can also call 111. The Samaritans also offer 24/7 emotional support, just call 116 123, or email them at jo@samaritans.org.

Additionally, Student Space (from Student Minds) is offering free phone, email, and live chat support every evening, and 24/7 text support, as well as loads of useful resources for students during the coronavirus pandemic.