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How To Make The Most of the Holiday Season

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UMKC chapter.

If you are anything like me, the holiday season tends to sneak up every single year. With finals happening often a week before Christmas, it can be challenging to fully decompress and enjoy this special time of year. Before you know it, the holidays can come and pass and I am often left wondering how it is already the new year. If you have been in a similar situation, don’t fret. There are still many ways you can enjoy the holiday season, even as a busy student. 

My first tip to help get into the holiday spirit is to start putting up Christmas (or whatever holiday you may celebrate) decorations early. Although much of my December is now spent in class and studying, this small change helps to brighten my mood and gives me something to look forward to when I come home. While I know there are varying opinions about when it is acceptable to put up your Christmas tree, I typically use December 1st as a good guideline. I then have the whole month to enjoy my decorations. For an even better time, play some holiday tunes and invite some friends over as a fun mental break from finals studying. 

My second tip is to use study breaks to partake in fun holiday activities, such as watching Christmas movies or baking Christmas cookies. While it is important to study for finals, it is especially important to take care of your mental health during this stressful season. That is why I personally follow the Pomodoro method and study for no more than two hours at a time. During my study breaks, I will turn on a Christmas movie (Hallmark movies are my favorite) as a fun way to decompress and enjoy the holiday season for longer. If you are a multi-tasker like me, I also tend to have  some kind of noise playing in the background while I study, so sometimes I will play a movie in the background while I am reviewing flashcards or writing a discussion post for my classes. 

I have a similar mentality with baking cookies. Both cooking and baking are things that I enjoy. I spend a decent amount of time cooking my own meals at home, so it is easy for me to implement baking a batch of cookies into my routine. Although these breaks are simple, they greatly improve my mood and allow me to participate in activities that I enjoy. Plus, once finals are over you can gather a group of friends for a fun, cookie-decorating get-together.

My last tip, once the holidays do roll around, is to be present. This year in particular, I only have two to three days off around both Christmas and New Years, otherwise I will be working in the hospital. While working through the holidays is not ideal, and sometimes it is inevitable. I am still determined to make the most of the time I do have off. For me, this means that I will be disconnecting from my electronics for those few days and turning off my notifications for school. That way, I will be able to fully enjoy the Christmas Eve service at my church and spend time with my family on Christmas day without the stresses of school looming in the back of my mind. If you are in a similar situation, I would recommend making the most of the time you do have instead of worrying about the time you don’t have. Enjoy opening every present, if that is something your family does, and really listen to every family member you have a conversation with. Take lots of photos with your loved ones and go back for seconds for Christmas dinner. 

So much of life is centered around what we do not have, but when we focus on what we do have, we realize just how much there is to be grateful for. In an ideal world, of course it would be nice to have four weeks off every year around the holidays, but for many, this is not realistic. This does not mean you cannot enjoy your holiday season and the tips I shared above are just a few ways I can help to keep my spirits up all season long.

Hi everyone! My name is Abby, and I am currently a fifth year in UMKC's six year B.A./M.D. program. My hobbies include triathlons, exploring coffee shops in the Kansas City area, and playing the piano. I also enjoy a good book, and my favorite author is Sarah J. Maas.