How to deal with post-holiday blues

by Madeleine Brown

After the high that comes with finishing first term and then the cushioning crash that comes with relaxing over the holiday break, second term can seem rather unwelcome. While it was acceptable over your holidays, now sleeping until noon, eating and napping until night is considered lazy. If you made it home and visited with friends and family, returning to campus and your acquaintances there can make you feel oddly lonely. And, worse of all, who wants to face the deadlines that come with new courses. There’s no guaranteed cure, but there are steps you can take to help mitigate post-holiday blues.



Continue to connect with friends and family from “home”
I use the term home loosely here because home might not be as straightforward as the place you grew-up in and where your parents now live. And it may not be the base you return to between terms. However, wherever and whatever you call home, there’s likely a clan of people you associate with it who exist quite separately from your college and university. Now that you’re a student, they provide a different insight on your life—a life they’re probably less directly a part of. However, just because they aren’t as present doesn’t mean you can’t continue to stay connected during school. Call, text, message, Skype or even write a letter to them during your downtime. And, maybe, that means expressing homesickness through laments or tears or simply finding out what they did during the day while you were at class. The sound of someone’s voice and their distinctive insight can provide comfort enough no matter how the conversation takes shape. It’s a reminder that yes, you are more than a student and you impact people outside of your school circle.



Get off-campus
Part of the delight of the holiday break is the chance to quite literally escape from campus. So remember that you can technically do that anytime during the term itself. Yes, you can’t always travel south or return home, but you could explore an unfamiliar neighbourhood, see a movie (not on your laptop!) or go as far as renting a car and taking a day-long road trip. Do it alone or with company, but again like connecting with friends and family, allow it to remind you of your existence outside of schoolwork. See it either as a comfort, or a welcome challenge. It’ll reawaken your sometimes dormant senses.



Utilize campus support
Like September, January is a reflective time minus the thrill of a new school year. And while post-holiday blues can last the whole month should these feelings persist, don’t hesitate to reach out to the counselling services available on-campus. You may never have thought of yourself as needing a counsellor, but it’s free and given its accessibility, it’s quite easy to keep entirely confidential. Likely, it’ll be competitive to get an appointment, unless you’re situation becomes urgent, but that should never become an excuse. As supportive as friends and family are, sometimes an unbiased opinion can provide new insights. And should counselling seem somewhat daunting or unnecessary, try office hours with professors or student life staff. Chances are they are more than happy to discuss something other than upcoming assignments. It’s not until graduation when you’re out in the real world, that you’ll realize the goldmine of opportunities these supports offer.