Holiday break marks a time for students to refresh, relax, spend time with family, and not worry about school. But returning after the break and getting back into a rhythm with school can be challenging. Some students find themselves experiencing the post-holiday break blues.
Post-holiday blues, also known as post-vacation syndrome, stress, or depression, is a slump that can hit hard after a period of intense emotion and stress according to an article from Psycom. Post-holiday blues share many similar characteristic symptoms of an anxiety or mood disorder such as insomnia, low-energy, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and anxiousness. The slump is usually short-lived rather than long-term. Abrupt withdrawal of stress hormones after a major event like a wedding, an important deadline, or the holidays, can have an impact on biological and psychological well-being.
A study from the National Alliance on Mental Illness showed 64 percent of people report being affected by the holiday blues.
Getting back into a rhythm
Senior computer science major Calvin Rolland said what he’s looking forward to this semester to prevent having post-holiday break blues, is “Being back on campus, being able to go to the gym. That’s probably the best thing. It’s something I look forward to, because living on campus you have access to the facilities, which is really good.” Rolland is motivated to get back into his school routine being on the brink of graduating and getting a full-time job making full-time money.
“Making sure I have everything on my schedule is really key to my success this semester,” he said. “Making sure I know when my homework and my assignments are due. Making sure I know how to balance my work hours with my classes, just being able to see overall how my schedule looks throughout the semester and maintain that organization.”
Although Rolland believes following a schedule is key, he also believes working closely with an advisor and making sure the schedule is conflict-free is important.
“I had a lot of class conflicts before I came back this semester so being able to work with my advisor to readjust a lot of those classes so they’d better fit my schedule, I feel like that’s really key to my success,” Rolland said.
Bringing himself out of the holiday break mindset and preparing for the semester is important to Rolland because balancing work life is a lot different when in school.
“If you’re just at your internship or your job, it’s just work, and then after work you don’t really have to worry about assignments. But when you start classes you have to now balance work, school, it could get really challenging at times so that’s the biggest adjustment,” Rolland said.
Challenges present themselves
Senior digital communications and social media major Anthony Pietrewicz said, “The biggest challenge for a senior is senioritis, and to beat that challenge I think you have to not buy into it, you know? Everyone is going to feel burned out at a certain point, but if people are telling you you’re burned out, you’re just going to feel even more burned out.”
He said, “Don’t let people slow you down by telling you, ‘Oh you must be done school, you must feel like you’re ready to graduate.’ At that point, you can’t let other people control what you think. Feel how you feel instead of the other way around.”
Between classes and an internship, Pietrewicz faces a tough first week and thinks he may struggle getting back into the school grind post-holiday break. The best thing he believes he can do is take it a day at a time, work hard, and bring that same mentality along with him into the next day and after graduation.
Dialing into the semester
Pietrewicz said the most important thing about getting back into a rhythm in school and avoiding post-holiday break blues is, “being in class again. As a senior, this is my last semester, so I want to take advantage of the whole semester, getting involved with as many things as I can. I think there’s going to be more blues when I graduate.”