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Home for the Holidays? 5 Ways to Not Go Stir Crazy this Season

Going home for the holidays brings up a lot of different emotions for me; from pure excitement to overwhelming anxiety, I feel it all. Being home with family is a completely different experience compared to how I’ve been living with roommates for the past three months. Going home to a whole new pattern and routine often feels weird and can be overwhelming at first. Here are five habits I’m going to stick to in order to ensure that this winter break goes the best it can!


One of the things I dread most when going home is the lack of “alone time” I know I’ll have. Between seeing family members I haven’t seen all year and making time to catch up with old friends from high school, it can often feel like I have no “me” time. This winter break I’m going to try to remind myself that it’s not selfish to want to have some time just for myself. Whether this looks like going on a walk, hanging out in my room journaling, or even just practicing mindfulness for five minutes, taking time for just yourself will help you relax, reset, and refresh.

pick up a new hobby

During the semester, it’s often difficult for me to find time to actually invest in a new hobby or activity I’m interested in. This past semester has been especially busy for me, so I’m hoping to find more time over break to work more on bullet journaling, explore new cooking recipes, and read! Who knows, maybe I’ll find a new hobby to pick up too! Little activities like this can not only be good outlets for dealing with heavy and unprocessed emotions but also can bring your family together if you’re willing to share these hobbies with them too.


Sometimes being cooped up in the house with your family can be overwhelming and make you feel like you’re missing the independence and freedom you had at school. Making plans with friends from home is always a great way to get out of the house! Going to the movies, grabbing lunch, or even just going for long car rides and walks are my favorite ways to spend time with those that I’ve been missing while I’m at school. Surrounding myself with the people who I still have cherished friendships with always makes me feel comforted during the holiday break!


Something that always sparks creativity and is a fun project to do over break is to rearrange and reorganize my room! Setting aside old clothes for donating, throwing out old files, and rearranging furniture gives me a sense of feeling refreshed and clean. Additionally, being home for the break will feel a lot less overwhelming and anxiety-inducing if I create an organized and peaceful bedroom environment to chill in.

find a part-time job

Getting a part-time job is a great way to fill your time during break! Having a job gets you out of the house, earns you money, and also adds (what could be) a great experience to a resume. Personally, I’ve always found great friends at the many jobs I’ve worked, so making new friends is an added bonus that comes with taking a part-time job. Keeping yourself busy while picking up new skills is never a bad idea!

These are just some of the ways that I plan to keep myself busy this winter break. “Filling your cup” looks different for everyone, so if these suggestions don’t work for you, then feel encouraged to find new ways to make sure you have the most restful, relaxing, and refreshing break yet!

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Kiley Smyth

U Mass Amherst '23

Kiley is a Senior at UMass Amherst studying Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. She is also pursuing a certificate in Film Studies!