Holiday Stress As A College Student

Sheigh Williamson

The end of the semester is stressful enough, but holidays can make this stress even worse. So, here are some tips on how to handle holiday stress as a college student.

First, plan ahead. Make sure you have time set aside for your parents and family, as well as your friends. It’ll be easier to deal with the stress of the holidays when you know what’s happening. Also do not overcommit yourself. As college students we are already busy with school and some even busier with work, so do not overcommit yourself to friends or family.

This next set of tips applies to students who are traveling home for the holidays. Do not just plan your flight and nothing else. Your family and friends have missed you and want to spend time with you, so let them know your holiday plans early. This way everyone knows what to expect. Also, pack extra clothes and supplies. You are going home, but I’m sure you don’t want to buy new hygiene essentials. And while you’re at home, you can wash your extra clothes, so you don’t have to worry about laundry when you get back to school.

If you’re not able to travel, or do not want to go home because the situation is too uncomfortable, try to celebrate the holidays with your friends who are there with you. Get together for dinner, have everyone bring a dish. You can play music, watch movies, play games, and do a White Elephant or Secret Santa. It could be a lot of fun, and this way you can still enjoy the holidays.

Some other tips are to acknowledge when you’re stressed and try to remove yourself from the situation. If you are unable to at the moment, set some time aside for yourself later to destress. During this time, you can listen to calming music, practice deep breathing exercises, or pet your animals. Calm music is known to induce a relaxation response and can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Deep breathing exercises help lower your heart rate as well. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which activates your flight or fight response. Doing deep breathing exercises will counteract this by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your relaxation response and calms you down. Spending time with your pet is also known to be an enjoyable and relaxing experience.

I hope these tips help you have a wonderful holiday season!