How to balance relaxation and revision this festive season

Five simple but effective tips for both a productive and relaxing festive season.

November 3 2015
Man revising with books

The festive holidays are a time of celebration ­– good food, lots of parties and time spent with family and friends. Unfortunately, for those sitting exams in the New Year, that also means revision.

Studying might not seem like a recipe for festive fun, but fear not. If you’re organised and get started early, you can still have a great holiday and be prepared for your exams. Stick to these relaxation and revision tips and you’ll go back in the New Year feeling relaxed, revitalised and well prepared.


It’s the holidays – you want to have a good time. So build your revision around the things you really want to do. Get the most important events and parties in your diary. Now you’ve got those plans in place, you can fit your revision into the gaps. This is important; you’re going to need this downtime.

Once you have your key social events on paper, plot in your revision. Avoid the temptation to commit to 12-hour revision marathons. Focusing on your work for that long is a Herculean task, and if you fall short then you’re going to feel like you’ve wasted your day. Think about any essays or other coursework projects that need to be completed for a specific deadline. Get those out the way first so that you can focus entirely on your revision.

Study space

Create a space at home that will be your study area for the holidays. This should be a clear, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed while you’re working. If you have a spare bedroom, converting it into your temporary study would be ideal. If you can possibly manage it, don’t set up in the kitchen or living room. Sure, you’ll have company that way, but you’ll also be surrounded by distractions.

If there’s no option but to study in a busy room, make sure your family know your revision timetable and will avoid disturbing you during study hours. Put a printed copy of your timetable on the wall so that everyone knows when you’re not to be bothered.

Don’t stress

The whole point of doing revision over the holidays is to make things easier in January. Make sure you mix your revision with plenty of time spent enjoying yourself. If your family is having a great time in the living room while you’re working, don’t be a martyr! Ditch the revision for a while and use the flexibility of your study planner to catch up your hours later. If you stick to your plan the majority of the time, you’ll be absolutely fine.


All you really want to do is veg out on mince pies and watch festive films. But a spot of exercise now and again can be a massive help to your revision routine. Any exercise will help – you don’t have to be mad for marathons to feel the benefit. If you dont want to leave the house, how about trying a bit of yoga with some meditation thrown in? This is a great way to relieve stress and focus your mind. Find a comfortable and quiet place, concentrate on your breathing and feel those anxieties disappear.

A winter walk can help to revive your mind, whether you just need a revision break or you’re stuck in procrastination hell. Wrap up warm, get outside and you’ll be treating yourself to a mental break as well as some gentle physical exercise that will give you a quick pick-up.

For a boost of endorphins and blood flow, try running on the spot for a few minutes to get your body pumped for a hardcore study session. The brief physical activity is a magic stress buster.

Keep it simple

The Christmas break is a brilliant opportunity to recharge your batteries. You need this time off to be with your family, catch up with friends and just indulge in some home comforts. Yes, you’re going to have to do some work, but don’t make yourself feel guilty for having a good time and don’t try to force yourself to study for 10 hours a day. Overdoing it is a quick way to make yourself stressed. Instead, look after your well-being and reap the benefits.

Enjoy the holidays and good luck!

Peter Langley is the founder of Get Revising, a free learning website that has helped more than one million students to boost their grades

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