November 23, 2020

Tips to relieve stress this holiday season

The holidays are a fun and joyous time but also a very busy one, and holiday stress and anxiety in students can and does happen. 

Here are the top tips from our Support Coordinator Eric Gilbert for ways to make the holiday season merry and bright.

Keep it simple

Decide what matters most to you and your loved ones. Avoid over-spending, over-planning, and over-stressing.

Take time for yourself

Take a breather and clear your mind. Even spending as little as 15 minutes alone or doing an activity you enjoy can make all the difference.

Get plenty of exercise

Being active can elevate your mood and help you cope with stress. Exercise and other types of physical activity stimulate the production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are brain chemicals that function as a natural painkiller. They can trigger a positive feeling in the body, boosting mood and reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.

Be grateful

People who express gratitude on a regular basis are healthier, more optimistic, make more progress toward their goals and have a greater sense of well-being.

Keep routines the same

Students do best when routines are predictable — and healthy. This is particularly true for sleep. As tempting as it may be to stay up late and sleep late throughout the holidays, try to stay within an hour of usual times, except for special occasions (like New Year’s Eve). We all do better when we stick to our sleep routines. Same goes for mealtimes (be sure your getting three healthy meals a day, preferably with family and not in front of the television).

Set your priorities

Before you get overwhelmed by too many activities, it’s important to decide what traditions offer the most positive impact and eliminate superfluous activities. Pick a few favorite activities and really enjoy them, while skipping the rest.

Choose something that helps others

Choose toys for a toy drive. Go through clothes in the closet and bring gently used ones to a shelter or clothing drive. Think of it as a way to not only teach kindness, but to keep perspective on the holidays — and on what’s way more important than presents or parties.

The holiday season can feel overwhelming, especially in a year with COVID-19, so practice self-care and do what you can to enjoy the season!