It’s a much-loved moment of downtime, but for many students, the winter break brings with it the need to focus on the books just as much as the boxes of mince pies. So we’ve put together this blog featuring five top tips to help you strike a good balance of revision and relaxation - and hit the ground running in January.
Work out your best way of studying
Everyone has a preferred way of revising, but broadly speaking, there are two approaches that come into play at Christmas: little and often, or all in one go. The former can be great for breaking what might seem like a mountain of work down into daily chunks, while still giving you time to see family and friends, but it requires a bit of discipline in resisting the temptation to skip each day’s scheduled study time. An alternative might be to set aside a few days at the start of the break to power through everything, giving you time to enjoy the rest of the break. Early on, work out what kind of approach is going to work best for you and try to stick to it.
Find a study area that works for you
As well as an effective approach to scheduling your study, you’ll need to have a decent space in which to do it. Houses can be scenes of sheer bedlam at this time of year, with noisy relatives running amok, so the answer might lie slightly further afield: perhaps the local library or a nearby coffee shop might give you just enough peace and space to really maximise productivity. If you’re working at home, try to find a quiet, uncluttered area and let your family know you’re studying, so they know not to disturb you.
Take regular breaks and reward yourself
Whether you’re doing a marathon or taking things in daily bitesize chunks, it’s really important to factor in milestones, breaks and rewards to break up the study. Before you start, make a plan of how much you’re going to do in each session, what topics you’re going to cover and when your break times are going to be. This will prevent the scope of your sessions from creeping, maintaining focus and energy. You might also want to put a reward system in place for hitting certain study milestones. Mince pie at the end of each day’s stint? Yes please.
Heading back to the family home for Christmas, albeit with work to do, makes it tempting to spend four weeks in your pyjamas, moving between your bed and the sofa. Don’t forget the importance of fresh air and exercise, both of which benefit study but also general wellbeing. December and January can be brilliant times of the year for walking, giving you the opportunity to enjoy lungfuls of crisp, clean air and plenty of time to reflect and think. If you’re in a city, try to get to a park and do a few laps, you’ll thank yourself.
Don’t forget to enjoy yourself
When you come home with what feels like a mountain of work to do, it can be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed and lose sight of the fact you’re supposed to be on a break. The main reason for Christmas break revision is so that you can make a running start to study and exams in January, but that won’t work so well if you’re burned out and stressed from working during the holidays. When making your revision plan, build in plenty of actual downtime, including all key family events and anything you want to do with your friends from home. Take some days off, but be sensible and make sure you’re not storing up too much work for the end of the break.
With these tips we hope you’ll be able to get the revision and relaxation balance right over the break and come back in January feeling refreshed and ahead of your studies. Good luck, and in the meantime, all the best from everyone at Uninest!