You’ve just written six exams, handed in four assignments, and cranked out twice as many papers.

But all this is nothing compared to the stress of heading home for the holidays.

Confused? Don’t be.


“Students have been really focused on their schoolwork and passing, and they’re exhausted by the time the holidays come. And yet there’s this heightened expectation that they’re going to go home and see family and friends and have a good time,” says Sue McDonald, a student counsellor at Seneca College.

Often, these expectations leave many feeling overwhelmed. The pressure of meeting family and social obligations, adjusting to new routines, and buying gifts can be a triple whammy for tired, cash-strapped students.

“What I tell students is be gentle with yourself,” says McDonald. “This means trying your best to rest, eat healthy food, exercise and seek out support of people in your life. And I always say it’s OK to say no.”

Part of saying no means turning down too many invitations, keeping things simple, and considering alternatives to gift giving.

As well, McDonald advises against overin-dulging with food and drink, and setting aside time for yourself, whether it’s taking a bubble bath, reading a book, or watching a TV show you love.

Following these basic guidelines, says McDonald, will ensure you don’t need a holiday to recover from the holiday season.

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