Handling the Holidays

By Molly Scott

The holiday season is filled with joyful family celebrations, delicious food, wonderful gifts, and a much-deserved break from the rigorous academic life here at Barnard. However, for many people, the holidays can be a time of high anxiety, depression, or stress. Here are a few reasons why you may be feeling certain emotions and what you can do to bash those holiday blues.

Not feeling the holiday cheer?

Limited amount of time and money for gifts
 Let’s face it: we’re college students, therefore we are broke and have absolutely no time to go gift shopping (especially during finals). Many students feel guilty about not being able to purchase nice gifts for their friends and loved ones. Don’t punish yourself over this though. Your family and fellow students totally understand this. If you really feel strongly about gift giving, though, there are many options that are stress-free. Go shopping at your local mall when you get home after finals; you won’t have to deal with the stress of studying and you won’t be paying New York City prices (that is, if you don’t live in Manhattan). Another holiday shopping idea: online shopping! Shopping on Amazon is a great study break and Barnard students can qualify for Amazon Student Prime (free and fast shipping!). If you’re on a budget, just get simple things. Look for sales, and shopping online is probably a better idea than spending money in a store in Manhattan.

Missing a loved one
Losing a loved one is an extremely emotional event, and sometimes the holiday season can make that even harder. You may remember joyful holidays that you shared with them in the past. You don’t have to go through this grief alone, though. Talk about these memories and your feelings with a family member. Chances are, they too miss your loved one during this season. Allow yourself the time to grieve. Another great way to get through the loss is to honor them during the holiday season. Light a candle in their honor at a family meal or dedicate a certain holiday decoration in the house to them. If you are feeling sad while you’re still at Barnard, try a visit to Furman. They are experts at helping you through any type of grief that you’re experiencing.

The older you get, the less magical the holidays become
 This may seem silly, but it’s so true. Remember when you were younger and the anticipation for gifts, music, and food was so exciting? As we grow, we take on more responsibilities during the holiday season and the magic is lost. In order to make this season feel really special and exciting, I’ve come up with a few little tricks:

  • Dedicate about 30 minutes a few times a week to listening to your favorite holiday music. It’s a great study break and stress reliever too.
  • Decorate! Deck out your dorm room/suite with holiday decorations. This will make things festive and lighten everyone’s mood.
  • Try a gift exchange! If you and your friends have the time, set up a “secret Santa”. Put your names in a hat, pick a name, and pick the perfect present for that person. Dedicate a night where you guys can get together and exchange.

Molly is a first-year at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Image courtesy of All About 24

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