Although most students look forward to the holiday break, it can be a time of stress for others. Returning to your family home after many months and finding a way to fill the time can lead to anxiety. To have a stress-free break, there are a few things that may help, depending on the reason for your anxiety.

Set Goals for the Holiday Break

Your time at university is often so packed with activities that you barely have time to breathe. It can be quite a shock to go from this to nothing. Initially, all the free time may come as a relief. After a few days, though, it may feel just as overwhelming (if not more so) than having a full schedule.

To overcome this problem, set goals of what you’d like to achieve over the holiday break. This will mean there’s always something you can do. Your list may include visiting certain friends and relatives, books you want to read, your exercise goals, and art projects you want to complete. You could even search for an opportunity to volunteer for a cause that matters to you — this will look great on your resume.

Find Seasonal Work

If you lack enough money for gifts or even to just feel comfortable meeting friends, a solution could be to find a seasonal job. This is also another solution to give you something to do. Contact your old workplace or ask local businesses if they need an extra pair of hands — it’s common for companies to need more help this time of year. Alternatively, you could reach out to parents in your area to ask if they need a babysitter while they’re out at parties or events.

Avoid Family Conflict

It can be particularly difficult seeing college friends excited about going home when you have a strained relationship with your own family. Anticipate potential problems in advance and create a strategy to deal with them. For instance, if you tend to have arguments with your parents, think about what discussions are likely to arise and what would be the best way to deal with them.

In addition, figure out some coping mechanisms. These could include leaving the house when tensions are high and going for a walk or to see a friend. Having an activity like a seasonal job or volunteer position could be useful for keeping you out of the house more. However, if you do need to stay at home, practise some breathing exercises in advance or think about whether there’s a friend you can text and vent to.

Lastly, reward yourself whenever you do effectively deal with stressful family situations. Choose an activity that either relaxes you or helps you let off steam soon afterward.

If you’d prefer to stay at university over the holidays to avoid some stress (and perhaps continue working at your part-time job), that’s always an option, too. However, it’s lonely being on campus when almost everyone else has left — you’ll be much more comfortable in Queen’s off-campus housing. Students who live at Foundry Mack are just a 10-minute walk from campus and they receive a spacious apartment with modern appliances and pure fibre internet. Join our waitlist to secure your place in time for the next holiday season.

rachel_grier@outlook.com

Author rachel_grier@outlook.com

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