The Hub 3 tips for managing holiday stress as an online learner

3 tips for managing holiday stress as an online learner

By: Nikki Pawlitschek, AU counsellor

AU counsellor offers advice to take care of yourself this holiday season

Although December is portrayed as being the “most wonderful time of the year” in Christmas songs and movies, it can also be a very difficult time for those who have lost loved ones, are dealing with depression, personal stressors, and so on.

Added to that is the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety measures that emphasize social distancing and limiting the size of your social gatherings. More than ever, this is the time to make sure that you look after yourself by following these helpful tips.

1. Practise self-care

I cannot stress enough the importance of practising basic self-care on a daily basis. Homewood Health, which previously provided the Student Wellness Support Program to AU learners, emphasized this in a recent newsletter. Here are some of the key points they stress.

  • Get enough sleep—seven to eight hours per night—and even a mid-afternoon nap of 20 minutes. Rest is essential to reset our brains after the events of the day.
  • Eat well, and eat healthy. Make sure to add more healthy foods to your diet and reduce unhealthy ones.
  • Make time to lead an active lifestyle, even if that means going outside for a walk for 30 minutes or getting on your treadmill when it is too cold.
  • Enjoy the silence. Too often we are so caught up with the busyness of the day that we do not appreciate just being still and quiet. Plan for at least 15 minutes a day to meditate, bird watch, or just sit and listen to your breath.
person listening to music with headphones

2. Find ways to focus

It’s understandable to feel unmotivated during this time of year. You are not alone in this, as the current circumstances are difficult for everyone. Do not judge yourself harshly, and just keep doing the best you can.

Make sure to have a routine each day, including things like getting up, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, having breakfast, studying. Also make sure to take frequent breaks during the day, which will help you to stay focused on your studies.

person working on a computer

3. Reach out and seek support

If you feel lonely and isolated, make sure to reach out to your friends, family, and community. You do not have to go through this by yourself. Connect with people by text, phone, or video chat.

If your life feels chaotic and you’re having difficulty coping during this busy time of year, there is support available during the holidays.

AU Counselling Services and Mental Health and Wellness are committed to providing resources to help you maintain good mental health and wellness during this busy time of year.

It’s all about having the ability to participate freely in the things you enjoy, deal with life’s challenges effectively, and fulfil your potential as an individual—ideally while making a positive contribution to the world around you.

There are many resources available to support you, including self-help resources, the Student Wellness Support Program, and access to a free, confidential, and private consultation with a Carepath counsellor.

two people talking via laptop

More resources are available

Check out AU Wellness programs and resources, where you can register for Carepath Digital Health, connect with peers on TalkCampus, and complete our free Learning to Learn Online course that will help you get more comfortable with the stresses of online learning.

For more information you can also contact Counselling Services.

Nikki Pawlitschek is an academic counsellor at AU. She has a master’s in mental health counselling from City University, a bachelor’s in liberal arts from the University of British Columbia, a bachelor’s in psychology from Open University, a certificate in modern languages (English, French, German), a diploma in brief systemic family therapy, and a certificate of counselling science. Most recently, she completed a two-year training program in Hakomi professional skills. Her passion is helping individuals find out what they truly want to do and to explore all the various options. She strongly believes that nothing is impossible and that with the right planning and support, everyone can achieve their goals.

Filed Under:
  • December 9, 2022
Guest Blog from:
Nikki Pawlitschek, AU counsellor