The holiday season is upon us! With Christmas trees lining shop windows and strings of lights in the streets, Christmas break feels so close, I can almost taste it. But only almost. There’s still one thing that’s keeping me from jumping full length on the couch and staying there for a week. You can probably guess what, since it’s the very thing we’d both rather not be doing but we have to do anyway. That is, of course, homework.
It’s this time of the school year that we students start to get what I call “holiday-itis.” You’ve heard of senioritis before, I assume, when seniors start feeling antsy and want nothing to do with school. Now picture the same symptoms but for every student. It happens to all of us, right around November and December. I’ve been experiencing holiday-itis myself—even while writing this blog post. It took me hours to get up the motivation to start, especially after talking to my mom about our holiday plans. Oh, how I wished it was Christmas break already.
It seems like every store on the street and every station on the radio is shouting at me that it’s the holiday season, and yet, my classes are quietly (but incessantly) reminding me that the time for holiday break is not quite yet. I still have to hunker down and do school for another month, as do we all.
So how can we get over this epidemic? It feels like there’s no way to conquer it. In all honesty, perhaps the only way to truly solve the problem would be to erase all memories of the holiday season until the last day of class. But since that’s not an option, here are a few home treatments that can at least keep you going.
1. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, water, and exercise.
I know that this is something you’ve heard countless times from every other person who ever gives advice. And I realize that you (if you’re like me) might very well just roll your eyes, say “yeah, yeah,” and promptly start eating Oreos while you do homework until midnight. I get it. We’re young, and when other stresses with deadlines are taking over, all the while when you have absolutely zero motivation, physical health tends to take the back burner.
But taking care of your physical body is vital if you are going to make it through the next month without crashing. If you don’t get enough sleep, water, or exercise, your body and mind will feel it. I know I’ve certainly experienced lags in my performance toward the end of the year, particularly after Thanksgiving. Once Thanksgiving comes, we all enjoy a nice break, gain at least five pounds, and then are expected to jump right back into school with no problem. I don’t know about you, but I always feel even more holiday-itis after Thanksgiving break. This is probably due to the excess of food and sleep I got over break, paired with the jump back into sparse meals and little sleep. That’s taxing on the body.
So, in order to keep your mind invigorated and healthy, keep your body that way! Sleep at least seven hours, keep a full water bottle with you, and get out for some physical activity every once in awhile.
2. Leave time for yourself. Make sure to take breaks.
This is definitely one that you will have no problem with, I’m sure. In fact, when I have holiday-itis, all I want to do is take breaks. And as long as you keep them in line, breaks are okay. They can actually help you make it through your final assignments better. While you may feel terrible for how long assignments are taking you now, allotting the necessary amount of breaks is the only way your brain will be able to handle more school.
What you can do is give yourself little assignment goals and then reward yourself with a taste of the holiday spirit. For example, plan out sections of an assignment to finish and then watch a little clip from Elf in between each. Or listen to Christmas music while you study! Whatever the holidays are to you, school doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying that.
3. Turn assignments into passions. Do what you care about.
Sadly, I don’t think enough students realize the importance of this. But it’s a foolproof remedy for helping your mind stay engaged during the final sprint before break. The end of the year is usually when all final projects and papers are due, and while the initial tendency might be to choose the easiest topic, that will not always make the project itself any easier for you.
For example, I have to write a research paper for one of my classes, due right before the holiday break. If I were to choose a topic that I care nothing about, that assignment would make my holiday-itis go crazy, no matter how easy it is to find sources on it. When all I want to do is watch movies about Santa, why would I want to research a topic I care nothing about? I’d end up putting that paper off for weeks, until only the fear of failing the assignment would get me to work on it.
So, when you are thinking about what to do your final projects on, think about what you have been the most passionate about. What stood out to you from class readings? From the news? From conversations you’ve had? If you can find a topic that you already have a strong opinion about, then it will be a lot easier to get over the holiday-itis. I’ve found that when I choose a topic I’m passionate about, I actually want to do my homework. Weird, but possible.
Remember, you’re so close!
Hopefully, by keeping yourself healthy, taking enough breaks, and choosing topics you care about, you’ll be able to make it through the last bit of school before a nice long break. Obviously, doing these three things won’t make you forget your holiday-itis completely. I don’t think that’s possible. Also, don’t feel like you have to repress your holiday cheer. The holidays are coming, and though break may seem forever away, it will get here. So use the closeness of winter break to pump yourself up! You’re almost there. Just a few more weeks, and you’ll be able to relax, sleep, and relax some more.
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