A Student’s Guide to Festive Self-care

Photo: Yasmin Turner

By Daisy Ward, 3rd year English Literature student

Traditionally Christmas is the time to share festive spirit, celebrate with friends and spend time with family. For students in particular the holidays act as a well-deserved break after an intense first term.

However, the festive period can be a hard time for some. Whether it is unresolved issues within the family, struggling with loneliness or anxiety around social events.

Thanks to the extra free time over the holidays Christmas is the perfect time to practice self-care.

So, here’s a list of self-care activities to try over the holidays.

Deck the halls

Get into the festive spirit by decorating your space. Whether you are at home for the holidays or in student accommodation a little tinsel and fairy lights will make your space cosy. Mini Christmas trees are perfect for small spaces and are super inexpensive as well.

Festive tip: If you’re on a budget the traditional cut-out paper snowflake is the perfect decoration.

Date yourself

Date yourself this Christmas! The holidays can be overwhelming. So why not take the time to treat yourself to a festive solo date? A solo date might include treating yourself to an afternoon in a coffee shop with a festive hot chocolate, or visiting a Christmas market and embracing the festive stalls.

Festive tip: Consider ditching technology, leave your phone at home and just enjoy your time alone.

Bake some festive treats

Bake some festive treats as a way to practice self-care. Baking is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. No matter your baking abilities some fun in the kitchen is the perfect way to distract yourself from looming uni work and holiday pressures.

Festive tip: Schedule a whole afternoon for your baking activities to ensure you aren’t rushed.

Get outside

Get outside and enjoy the crisp winter air. In the winter months, it’s easy to stay inside and avoid the cold. But get out there even if it’s a bit nippy and enjoy mother nature. Whether it’s for a brisk stroll or a snowball fight in the garden, get yourself out there and soak in some Vitamin D.

Festive tip: If you’re in Nottingham Wollaton Park is the perfect place to feel festive and even spot some deer!

Holiday movie night

Pick your favourite Christmas movie and snuggle up! You can do this on your own or with company, but either way, make sure it’s a cosy night. It is essential to have lots of drinks and snacks on hand, as well as cosy blankets and festive lighting.

Festive tip: Make it a PJ night! Get dressed in your most festive nightwear to truly embrace the holiday spirit.

Reconnect with your inner child

Reconnect with your inner child by having some festive fun! The stresses of Christmas can take away from the fun and cheer the holidays hold. To combat this intentionally seek out fun. This might include making Christmas decorations, having snowball fights or playing with the younger members of the family.

Festive tip: Find your ultimate nostalgic festive film to connect with your younger self.

Silent night

Enjoy a quiet night in. The social expectations surrounding Christmas can be overwhelming, a great way to combat this is to take a night off. Let everyone in your household know that you are having a quiet night and that you don’t want to be disturbed. Create some quiet time by having a soak in the tub, meditating or snuggling up with a good book.

Festive tip: Be intentional, make it clear what your plans are and enjoy yourself.

Seasonal drinks

Make a festive drink or buy one out! My favourite festive drinks range from peppermint hot chocolate to mulled apple cider. Whether you’re snuggling up with a hot drink on the sofa or out with friends celebrating with festive cocktails both act as essential self-care.

Festive tip: Making mulled wine at home is super easy! All you need is red wine, oranges and spices.

Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude is the best gift for your mental wellbeing. The Christmas period can be a time where expectations are high and it’s easy to compare your day with others. To fight feelings of inadequacy gratitude is the perfect solution. Take a few moments with yourself to either journal or meditate on what you are grateful for.

Festive tip: write a thank you note to somebody who has made you feel loved over the Christmas period.

Final message

Everyone deserves to have a joyful Christmas especially after many not being able to celebrate last year. Try to remember to make time for your mental wellbeing and reach out if you need support.

Stay safe and happy holidays!

Our Student Support will still be here to support you during the winter break for more information on support and services available to NTU students over the winter break head to the Student Hub

For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.


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