We have survived those two seasonal gatekeepers, Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and the Christmas season is now in full swing with all the joy and laughter and … STRESS. It’s just in our nature to want everything to be perfect this time of year. But guess what? Doesn’t happen. And if you’re also working towards your degree and you are anything like me, then you start to get all stressed out and the holiday season loses its beauty and its fun.
So here are a few tips that may be helpful as we begin the celebration yet again:
- Manage your time. This is so important! If you have a paper due and several forum posts to write and respond to, plan out your time for them first, so you don’t fall behind. And, if it takes a full hour to prepare and bake cookies, DO NOT start this project 15 minutes before you’re supposed to be delivering said cookies to the church.
- Make a list of all the things you want to do and all the things you have to do, and then figure out which ones cause you the most stress. This is the best way to manage your time.
- Figure out which things you can control and which you cannot control. You can’t control the amount of schoolwork you have to do, BUT you can control when you get it done. And remember, if you realize you’re getting really behind in your classes, you can reach out to your professor for assistance or ask for an extension.
- Learn how to just say no. You don’t have to take on every little project that crops up. Try to keep it focused on what you and your family truly love to do, whether it’s stringing popcorn garlands for the tree or volunteering at the local soup kitchen on Christmas Eve.
- Try to maintain as much of your normal routine as you can. This is especially important if you have children. You know how excited they get around this time and it can be tough to keep them from getting exhausted and melting down.
- Set up a budget (yeah, I know, this one is really hard) and try to stick to it as much as possible. Nobody needs the added stress of worrying how all those bills from Santa (Visa and/or MasterCard) are going to get paid come 2015. Are you crafty? Maybe you can make bath salts in pretty jars, or hand knitted scarves to give as gifts. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?
- Make some time for yourself in all this. Go shopping with a friend and then get lattes (or whatever), or watch your favorite Christmas movie while the kids are asleep. Reward yourself for getting your assignments done early!
Whatever you do, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, remember the true meaning of this season: Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to all!
By Cecelia McKevitt
Admissions Representative at American Public University