It’s that time of year when students are not only wrapping up the semester but also figuring out how to spend the holiday break.
Some challenges that may come with change and transition into the new year include:
- Pressure of deadlines and running out of time to complete your work.
- Cramming study time, which can result in poor sleep and impaired cognitive functioning. This in turn can lead to last-minute panic and anxiety.
- Realizing you may not recover from poor academic performance in time for the visit home.
- Dealing with high anxiety over maintaining grade standards.
- Going home for breaks and having to face potentially difficult environments, conversations or expectations.
- Making conscious choices about healthy behaviors during the holidays.
Here are some ways to prepare well for the end of the semester.
- Know your signs of stress, which can include fatigue, agitation, feeling jittery or shaky, muscle tension, headaches, feeling drained or overwhelmed, restlessness and poor concentration.
- Engage in effective stress management skills.
- Focus on prioritizing self-care even when busy. This includes healthy eating, exercise, getting sufficient sleep and engaging social supports.
- Reach out to supportive resources if needed, including the Counseling Center, Women and Gender Resource Center, Collegiate Recovery and Intervention Services, and the Student Health Center.
Here are some tips for managing the holiday break.
- Keep a good routine: Give yourself a few days to rest and recover, but then get back into a consistent schedule. This will help maintain mood and energy.
- Get some sunshine: Make sure you get up and outside every day, even for a short period of time.
- Maintain good self-care: Exercise, healthy eating, sleep and balance are just as important during breaks as they are during the busy semester.
- Set limits and boundaries: It is OK to say no to things or to be picky about what you do with your time. Planning makes it easier to set boundaries.
- Give yourself a break: It is OK to unplug for a while, even from celebrations.
- Acknowledge difficult feelings: If the holidays are a difficult time for you, allow yourself the space and the grace to acknowledge this. It is normal to feel grief or sadness. Don’t feel like you have to force yourself to feel a certain way during the holidays.
As always, the Counseling Center is here to help. Contact 205-348-3863 for additional support. Same-day consult appointments are available every weekday and appointments are available within the week for new clients.
Counseling Center Services are accessible.
Same-day consult appointments are available every weekday and are only scheduled the day of. These are 30-minute phone consultations with a therapist and can be used by any student at any time.
Generally, students can get an in-person screening appointment within one to two weeks. While there are times of the year when new-client screening appointments have a longer wait, they’ve rarely exceeded two weeks. For fall 2022, the average wait time for a new screening appointment was 7.6 days.
Reach out to the Counseling Center at 205-348-3863 for information on current appointment availability and to schedule appointments.
New Resource for Students
Students now have access to an online peer support community called Togetherall. This is another great resource students can use over long breaks for continued support.
Togetherall’s online community is clinically moderated by mental health professionals and offers students a safe and anonymous place to express their thoughts, concerns and triumphs. Resources are free for students (aged 16+) to use and are available 24/7 year-round. Students can give and get support from others as well as use mental health and well-being courses and resources. To learn more, watch this short explainer video. It’s free, anonymous and available now. Sign up here with your myBama credentials.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.