The holiday season brings a lot of joy from spending time with the family. But holidays are not all about being happy, they also bring a lot of stress, especially for students. This peaks even more during exams week, along with a busy timetable. There are so many things to do and so little time. That’s why many students can experience holiday stress and anxiety.
What causes holiday stress?
- Exams week. This is the main reason students experience stress and anxiety as they are expected to show outstanding academic performance. The case is that the majority of students go through the fear of failure. Not only do they need to submit lots of coursework, but they also need to find time for holiday preparations. If you feel that anxiety is taking over you and you cannot deal with all your written assignments, you can use a trusted website to pay for an essay. This is a great way to relieve stress and feel more confident with your marks.
- Irregular sleeping schedule and food intake. From the body’s perspective, we tend to stay up late and take a lot of sugary, unhealthy food. It hugely influences mood and general well-being. Sleep deprivation makes you irritated and unfocused. Plus, unhealthy food provokes the feeling of tiredness.
- Time with relatives. Although many of us are happy to spend our time with families, it comes with a risk too. You are expected to sit at the dinner table not provoking any arguments. It is especially hard when you have a huge family gathering that includes distant relatives. You might have to answer inappropriate questions and remarks. This time of year can be specifically challenging for those who have experienced death in the family.
- Financial concerns. Naturally, you want to give the best presents to people you love, but it might be very hard if you are short of money. But students have to strictly control and be aware of their finances. This often leads to an increase in anxiety and forces them to look for ways of coping with stress.
Tips for students on how to cope with holiday stress
First of all, try to keep your sleeping schedule as close to regular as possible. Remember, that the way your body feels directly influences your mental health. Try to reduce the intake of unhealthy, high-sugar products and keep alcohol and caffeine intake at a normal level. Also, you could use exercise.
The second tip is to try mindfulness. If you’ve never tried it, you should give it a go. This is a free and effective way of reducing holiday stress. You can practise it for 15 minutes a day, and the result will surprise you. And the most appealing thing – you can do it wherever you are right now.
You can also follow tips, provided by professionals. For instance, the American Psychological Association has an amazing holiday stress resource centre where you can find practical tips that suit your situation.
For those whose main reason for stress is studying, there are platforms that offer help with writing assignments. It is normal to worry about your grades. Sometimes you cannot physically get everything done by yourself. And the stress can make you paralysed with fear of failure. If it is the case, ask for help online.
Another tip is to set realistic goals and expectations. Don’t hope that everything will go perfectly like in a fairy tale. High-level expectations lead to disappointment. And last but not least: take breaks. Always make sure that you have some time for yourself and even for doing nothing. Rest is extremely important. Plan your breaks regularly and enjoy them.
How to prevent holiday stress
Prevention is also a great way to be ready for what is coming. To prevent stress, related to the named factors, follow these simple steps:
- Plan your study schedule and do things beforehand
- Start saving up for presents in summer or earlier
- Manage your time so that there are healthy breaks
- Stay hydrated, sleep well and eat healthily
Remember that it is just a holiday season and not the end of the world. Try to manage your expectations and enjoy small things. Don’t forget to rest and stay healthy. And if you feel like you need some help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Tim Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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