Looking After Yourself This Christmas

The holidays are going to look different this year. Whether you’re travelling 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. Our Advice Centre have put some great tips together to help you have a restful break, and find help should you need it.

Reaching out 

While many students will be travelling 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 than they are used to.

For this reason, it is important to stay in touch with family and friends over the break. You could organise a festive online 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, look out for the University’s announcements about what they have planned for you. They are working hard to make sure you get some Christmas cheer!

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.
  • Practice 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. 
  • 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.

The University has published detail of campus services over the holiday break, as well as the support available to you if you're having to self-isolate.

In the event of a mental 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 support, just call 116 123, or email them at jo@samaritans.org

Additionally, Student Space (from Student Minds) are offering free phone, email and live chat support from 4-11pm and 24/7 text support, as well as loads of useful resources for students during the coronavirus pandemic.

Further support

We appreciate the volume of information being sent your way could be quite overwhelming, so we've created a Coronavirus Hub to give you quick links to key advice, guidance, and our latest news updates. With dedicated pages for housingacademic, and welfare advice, as well as links to government advice and College FAQs, it's your one-stop shop for all the vital information during this time.

The Advice Centre is a free, independent and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.

Email us at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk with any questions or to ask for a phone appointment.