How to cope with stress during the winter break

By Chloe Brazener, MSc Psychology Student

As a part-time Masters student juggling multiple commitments, the idea of a break from university sounds enticing, however the issue is that this time of year comes associated with assignments due for submission.

I am no stranger to the looming deadlines at this time of year. What comes to mind when faced with this nonetheless is how am I going to cope with all this work while still being able to enjoy the fun of the festivities ahead? There is no easy way to balance this, but we can make the process simpler. There will be moments of sacrifice but there also needs to be times to relax and spend time with family and friends.

I have five top tips for coping with the stress you may be facing during this winter break.

  1. Plan your time – make a timetable! Yes, you may have thought you left those behind after you finished your GCSEs or A Levels. However, timetables are still really useful for managing your time. Ideally you should definitely factor some time in for resting alongside periods of working. For instance, if you have one assignment in particular that you need to focus on then block out periods of time for writing your assignment and time for relaxing and spending time with other people. If you have a job, keep that in mind too and factor that into your timetable.
  2. Connect with those in a similar position: I make it a priority to keep in contact with those who also have assignments to submit. This means that you and your peers have someone else to bounce ideas off and to keep each other motivated during what can be a difficult period to keep yourself going. It’s easier than ever to do this as MS Teams allows you a way to keep in touch with your peers over message, voice or video call.
  3. Work through the hard bits now because you’ll thank yourself later. Get it started, get it started now! We all have had those assignments or exams that we dread having to get done. Nevertheless, the best thing to do is to get these things done first in order to spend less time dreading something that may not actually be as bad as you thought. It will reduce the pressure now and take the stress off later when it comes down to those final few days before the deadline. Think of your most difficult task and add that to the top of your to-do list and then get it done. If you have any issues then contact your tutors when university starts again in early January or talk with your peers and try sharing ideas like mentioned above.
  4. Time off: Taking time off is critical at this time of year. Most of us still have months of university left and it is important to maintain good mental well-being. Think of some interesting things to do during the festive period whether that be going to the Nottingham Christmas Market, taking a festive trip to Newstead Abbey or walking around various places in Nottingham for nice cafes serving warm drinks. The priority is to find something enjoyable and relaxing in order to take care of your general well-being.
  5. Enjoy! Simple, although not as easy as it sounds. Remind yourself that you are doing well by just being here and keeping yourself motivated. Enjoy this time and do what you want to do, whether that be watching TV or spending time with others. It is ok not to be in the best place all of the time but giving yourself a rest and allowing yourself time to be you is so important for your overall well-being.

For support over the Winter break head to the StudentHub

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

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