Happy December Panthers! It’s that time of the semester where classes are ending and finals are upon us – all in the midst of the holiday season. It’s tempting to expect the holiday season to reflect a picture-perfect Hallmark movie filled with laughter, traditions, and holiday fun. But, realistically as college students, you may be feeling the end-of-semester strain to study for your finals and finish out the semester strong before returning home for winter break.

All these stressors can leave you feeling burnt out and disconnected from friends and family during the holiday season. In an age where social media use is prominent, witnessing others enjoying the holiday season through social events and activities can escalate feelings of loneliness and raise your expectations of what you should be doing to make this time of year meaningful. Sounds like a lot of pressure, right?

Finding a balance between school and the holidays during this time of the year can be challenging. The following are some tips and tricks to help you find connection and joy this holiday season:

 Set up a Zoom call or a virtual meeting with long-distance family and friends. Seeing and hearing from your loved ones, even for a short call, can help you feel supported and connected during this stressful time.

 Take a social media break. It can be exhausting scrolling through everybody else’s happiest moments from this season. Instead, take time to reflect on your greatest holiday memories by looking through old photos or videos. You may even catch up with friends by reminiscing about memories and planning how you will make new ones together.

 Balance studying with socializing. In between all your study time, reach out to a friend to do something fun. This could be watching a holiday movie together, baking cookies to get into the holiday spirit, or listening to holiday music.

 Find a way to give back. Volunteering your time or donating a small amount of money to a good cause can be a great way to feel what the holidays are all about. Acts of service and helping others can go a long way and leave you feeling a sense of warmth, gratitude, and closeness to your community.

We hope these tips and tricks can help bring a bit of joy and connection to your holiday season as you finish up the end of the Fall semester. We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and will see you in the New Year!

If you find yourself feeling lonely, stressed, and in need of additional support, reach out for help. The Student Counseling Center is here for you. Our center provides a variety of mental health and wellness services to assist you and other students in successfully reaching personal, academic, and career goals.

Please take a moment to visit our website to learn more information about our services and support, as well as resources for psychological well-being. We are here to support you in your journey!

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