Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Curse of the Thanksgiving Food Coma

The turkey has been carved, the cranberry sauce served, and the pumpkin pie devoured. In the hours following a large Thanksgiving meal, I always make a pact never to consume food again (of course, I always end up eating leftovers the very next day). One of our dear family friends refers to his post-meal state on our couch as “a beached whale.” I can’t help but relate to this sentiment. The Thanksgiving “food coma”, however, lasts far beyond the hours following the meal.

So, first, I should let you know what I mean by the “Thanksgiving food coma.” I am referring to the state of complete contentedness, where you are thoroughly satiated and ready for a nap at any hour of the day. This state of laziness (I hesitate to use “laziness,” but at least for me it is an appropriate descriptor) can last into the weeks after Thanksgiving break, and can begin to impede upon your work ethic.

The curse of Thanksgiving is this: it’s by far one of the best breaks of the year (especially for those who will be travelling home for the first time all semester) but comes right before crunch time in the weeks leading up to finals. Thanksgiving is a taste of winter break, but can lead to a severe lack of motivation for finals studying at the end of the semester.


So, here are a couple of ways to recover from the inevitable Thanksgiving food coma!

  1. DON’T WATCH NETFLIX. Just kidding….but seriously, put a cap on that.

Come back from Thanksgiving break with realistic expectations. No, you won’t be studying every second of every day for finals, and if you put that kind of pressure on yourself you will fall short. At the same time, the Thanksgiving food coma can lend itself to a lot of Christmas movies on Netflix. Let yourself enjoy the post-Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas holiday season, but put a limit on the Netflix watching.

  1. Try to be as active as possible

Now, that’s not me telling you to go to the Plex every day, but keeping yourself moving during the winter months is extremely important to avoid falling into a permanent food coma. Even though i’ts freezing, make sure to get outside! Move around and leave your room, taking a walk is a great study break and will keep your mind going.

  1. Try to stick to a study schedule, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stay on track.

I truly believe that stress is a key part of motivation, but if you set your study expectations unrealistically high, not meeting those goals will feel even worse and could lead to a permanent food coma. Try to come back from Thanksgiving with clear and attainable academic goals!


I know that it is extremely hard to come back from Thanksgiving break with any kind of motivation, and it’s easy to coast through these next couple of weeks without thinking of finals. Don’t let yourself do that! Try to focus while maintaining realistic expectations of yourself. And trust me, the actual “food” part of the coma you won’t have any trouble with when you get back to BC, because nothing beats a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner!


Photo sources:



I am a Political Science major and Women's and Gender Studies minor at Boston College. I am an RA on campus and am involved in the Student Admissions Program. Since I am from Florida, I can legitimately say that I love long walks on the beach. I also love getting lost in a world fabricated by a novel, there is honestly nothing better.