Stay grounded, have fun during holidays


illustration by Samantha Haney

The holiday season can be a stressful time for students. Instead of focusing on that stress, they should look for holiday things that make them happy.

Samantha Haney, News Multimedia Editor / Legend Social Media Manager

The holidays are really stressful with tests right before Winter Break, family coming into town or going out of town on vacation, gift shopping and trying to keep up with friends. Because of this, I’ve made my own holiday survival guide – a list of things you can do to stay calm in the chaos.

Sam’s Holiday List

  • Drink water and eat
    • This might seem obvious, but over break I forget to drink water and eat consistently. When my school schedule goes away, so does my eating schedule. So I set reminders on my phone to basically act like the school bells and remind me to eat.
  • Do something calming every day
    • For me, this means meditation. But taking 10-30 minutes to read, do yoga or something like that tends to help me be more grounded and not get swept away in the craziness.
  • Spend time with friends
    • A lot of times, over break, I get out of touch with my friends. But I love spending time with them, so I try to keep that time going when I’m not seeing them in school. Plus they cheer me up and help when I’m getting stressed out.
  • Find something happy
    • There are certain things that are almost everywhere during the holidays. The ones I see the most are colored lights. They’re up on my house, neighbors’ houses and all around St. Louis. Every time I see those, it’s a quick reminder that despite everything I may be feeling in the moment, there’s happiness and honestly, it’s just a reminder to breathe.
  • Be honest about what you can and can’t do
    • I will do it all, or at least try. There have been so many years where I’ve booked myself up every day and then I crash. So what I do now is have conversations with my parents. The things that bring me joy are what I prioritize along with the things I need to do. Again, time with friends and then cleaning. My parents are really good about helping check me and make sure I don’t get too worn out so I can really enjoy everything the holidays have to offer.
  • Finish Holiday shopping early
    • Start as soon as possible if you’re getting gifts for family and friends. Even if you’re ordering online, it can take a while for things to come in. I don’t like shopping in person further into December because of the large crowds so I tend to stay away from stores. But if you shop early, then you don’t have to worry about gifts coming late or the stores stressing you out. I use Amazon for online shopping and I usually shop at Target with friends and family to pick up gifts. The crowds aren’t awful there and you don’t usually have to wait more than five minutes for the checkout.
  • When traveling, stay in the holiday spirit
    • My family doesn’t go out of town for Winter Break too often, but when we do, it’s such a stress factor. So much so that we lose sight of the fact that we’re celebrating a holiday. Watching holiday movies and listening to Christmas music can be a really great way to keep the holiday spirit alive.
  • Keep traditions
    • One of my favorite parts of any holiday is the traditions. For Christmas, that’s sprinkling reindeer food (a mix of oats and sprinkles) in my front yard. No matter how tired I am, the moment Christmas is over, I look back and I’m so glad that I kept that tradition. So even if it feels like too much work or you’re busy, if there are traditions that are important to you, it’s worth making time for them.