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How to balance relaxation and revision this festive season

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

  • Student life
December 5 2018
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. Schedule in all your most important events and dates in your diary so that you know the times you won't be able to study. Now you can fir your studying in around the gaps. It's important that you schedule in this down time to make sure that you don't feel left out of the festivities. But also bear it mind how much studying you have to do and be sensible about how many social events to say yes to. 

While it can be easy to leave little time for revision among all the festive fun, make sure that you also don't go too far the other way and schedule in 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. Give yourself short revision sessions of a couple of hours at a time with regular breaks in between to make sure you remain fresh.

Make sure that you factor in all the work you have to do. Alongside revising for exams, schedule in some time to work on any essays or projects you have due in after the break or start to tackle that reading list. It may seem like a chore but you'll be thankful when the new term rolls around. 

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.

Or even head to the local library or coffee shop to get some work in. It's another way to get you out of the house for a bit, and a change of scenery can work wonders for booting productivity levels  

If you have no other option than to use 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, allow yourself some down time. Ditch the revision for a while and use the flexibility of your study planner to catch up your hours later. Just make sure that you are strict enough with yourself that you still manage to finish all the work you ahve to do and that you aren't staying up until 3am to finish it. 


At Christmas time all you really want to do is lie on the sofa eating cheese and watching festive films. But a spot of exercise now and again can really help your revision routine. Any exercise will help – you don’t have to be mad for marathons to feel the benefit. If you don’t want to leave the house, how about trying a bit of yoga with some meditation thrown in? 

Or head out for a winter walk for a revision break or if you find yourself procrastinating. 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.

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