Balancing revision with enjoying some relaxation during the festive break

Written by: UPSU

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For many students, the winter break is a time for catching up with family and friends, enjoying wholesome seasonal events, and indulging in festive foods and drinks at parties. Unfortunately, for those who are sitting exams and have coursework deadlines early in the new year, the festive break will also include study time. 

Revision is likely one of the last things many students will want to be doing during the holidays, however, providing you are organised and don’t leave everything to the last minute, you can still enjoy yourself during the holidays and get some much-needed relaxation and quality family time, whilst also being prepared for your January assessments. 

Here are five tips to help you balance your study time whilst enjoying some downtime over the festive season...


1. Plan before the holiday starts…

There are bound to be events and activities you want to attend during the winter break, whether that’s a Christmas party or exploring the markets and doing some festive shopping, so make sure you plan around those. 

Try making a list of all the times you know you have plans you don’t want to miss and add those to your calendar. Depending on how much studying you need to do, you can then sensibly plan revision times around your main events, as well as know what additional, last-minute plans you can say yes or no to. 

If you can, try to make sure you are balancing your downtimes and study times. For example, avoid having a jam-packed fun week of zero study, followed by a revision marathon the week after with no fun events. Shorter, more productive study sessions followed by a rewarding, relaxing or exciting activity should help you stay motivated and avoid revision burnout. 


2. Think about where you plan to study during the holidays…

If you are heading home for the holidays and are returning to your bedroom before you left for university, many will choose to study in that space. Alternatively, if your home for Christmas has a spare room or better yet, a study room that will allow for some uninterrupted quite time, this is also a great option. 

If, however, you know that you are not going to have space where you are staying for the holidays without noise and distractions from others, you may want to plan where you could go to get some quality revision time. Whether you have a local library, a peaceful coffee shop, or a friend or relative who lives close by with a quite room you could use, it is important you feel comfortable in the space you are studying in and are able to focus and use your time well. 


3. Try not to stress about your upcoming exams or deadlines and enjoy the break for what it is: a break!

Of course, we want you to take your education at university seriously and ensure you are as prepared as possible for your January exams or hand-in dates, but above everything, your mental wellbeing comes first; and the festive break is a great opportunity to take some time to recharge and look after yourself. 

Try not to view revision over the holidays as a chore or something preventing you from having a good time, but rather something that is going to help you feel less stressed going back to university in the New Year, and actually support your mental wellbeing. It is all about managing your time as best you can, being mindful of what your mind and body needs to feel as calm as can be about any upcoming assessments, and being honest with yourself about what will benefit you in the long-term. 

You can read our article how to stay mindful: tips, apps, and podcasts here or read our tips for keeping calm during your exams here.


4. Be honest with your friends and family members about the work you need to do over the holidays…

It is perfectly normal for family and friends to want to spend time with you and enjoy some festive fun times out in your company during the holidays, and whilst we encourage you to do just that, it is also important you communicate with your loved ones about your revision goals or workload you need to complete. 

Whilst it is likely you will need a quite space to study for the most part, when it makes sense to, you could always get your family and friends involved in your study time. Whether you create quizzes or flash cards to help you learn or ask someone to read part of your essay back to you so you can hear it out loud and evaluate the flow of your writing; utilise those around you and explore new ways of studying!

Check out our top tips to improve your study habits here.


5. Make sleep a priority and don’t compromise your rest time!

Whilst we encourage you to make a calendar so you can clearly see the activities and events you are planning to go to, as well as your study periods, it is important to not overfill your calendar and ensure you give yourself some flexibility and above all, time to rest! 

Hopefully, planning ahead and being organised will help you stay on track with your goals and avoid stressful revision cramming until early hours of the morning, and therefore allow you to get some good night sleeps in.

Sleep is key when trying to recharge your mind and body, and when you are trying to study. A lack of sleep can impair your ability to focus, retain information, and make clear decisions.

If you are someone who struggles to get a good night’s rest regularly, here are some tips to help you improve your sleep and maximise your chances of study success.


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