How to Manage Holiday Stress

Rachael Nelson graphic.

During the winter months, many students experience high levels of stress due to the increasing demands of school work and devoting more time to extracurricular activities and recurring holiday and winter events. Even though winter can be exciting for some with holidays and winter festivities around the corner, for others, the holidays can bring them tough emotions and reminders of what one does not have. Regardless, the stressful weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and winter breaks can be overwhelming.

“I’m pretty busy during the holiday season. School picks up with lots of tests and finals prep, there are celebrations with different sides of my family, and with activities on top of everything else, it can be a lot,” said sophomore Sophia Bell.

Teachers and counselors often notice students being stressed, particularly during the winter months.

“The winter months tend to be a more stressful time of year due to many things that are either personal or academic related. Academically, the semester is starting to wind down so there is less time to get those assignments, tests, or projects done that one may have put off. Personally, the winter months tend to bring family or friend gatherings which adds to our plates,” said school Counselor Valerie Powell.

Many students feel obligated to participate in all of the holiday and winter activities for the season, while also keeping up with their academics and extracurricular activities, but students shouldn’t forget to make time for themselves, to rest and relax. Finding ways to balance schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and other responsibilities while still leaving room for fun activities each day is important for students, especially during the holiday season.

“Find relaxation techniques that work for you whether that is working out, listening to or playing music, talking with a friend, coloring/drawing, reading, baking, etc, and work at least a little of that into your schedule. Stay on top of your academics so that being behind doesn’t cause more stress. If you’re not getting a good night’s rest, try to go to sleep just a little earlier. Sleep, a healthy diet, and a small activity to look forward to can really help,” said Powell.

Besides being sure to allow time to rest, students can also work to prevent having overwhelming amounts of stress by being prepared and organized.

“I think that planning ahead definitely helps with stress, as well as making lists and utilizing time like study hall. I have all my activities on my calendar in my phone, and I keep a list of my current assignments in my reminders app. It really helps with knowing what I have going on,” said Bell.

With proper planning and allowing time for rest and relaxation, students can manage stress during the winter months and still enjoy the holiday season.