Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, being away from your loved ones during the month of giving and joy can be incredibly difficult. You almost feel endlessly envious seeing your peers spend time with their families, friends, receiving gifts and sometimes even going somewhere nice on holiday. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way and after last year’s Christmas break, I’ve managed to create a first-aid pack for all of my fellow students who are feeling left out during the holidays!
First off, self care…
And I cannot stress enough how important this is over the holidays. It’s been a stressful and hectic term, you deserve to rest. For every personality type, self care will look different. Some may need to catch up on sleep, clear out their room and have a few days off with some comforting hot chocolate and a favourite film. Others however, feel a lot better after having been to the gym, eating cleaner and staying active in the outdoors.
Think of anything that was neglected during term time and try to get back to your old hobbies that used to bring you so much joy. In order to cope with anything at all, everyone should remember to take care of their physical and mental health first. You’d be surprised how connected they really are.
Get in touch with others that are staying on campus!
After you’ve managed to catch up on rest, now it’s time to look into your surroundings. Chances are, there are a lot more people who are currently spending their holidays in a similar way to you. Myself included!
Try to reach out to anyone who you think may be in the same boat. These are usually, but not limited to, international students. Having a little cultural exchange with a cook-off will make you feel warm in more ways than just one!
Being together with someone who understands your position is therapeutic enough. They’ll bring you their country’s comfort food without you even asking and you will easily become a small December family.
And if you feel like you just don’t know anybody, maybe it’s about time you check those pesky emails. There’s a chance some of you may have ignored them due to their volume or frequency, but there are some hidden gems.
The University seems to make sure students still have got the space to meet each-other outside of term time, so make sure you take advantage. Campus restaurants are mostly open, however I do recommend you check their opening and closing times on the University’s website. But it’s a great chance to get some cake and potentially meet someone new!
Go out into town and feel the Christmas spirit…
Whether or not you celebrate the holidays, there is nothing wrong with enjoying some mince pies and hot chocolate on a cold day! Have you been to the York Christmas Market yet? Chances are that you have, but have you been to the Käthe Wohlfahrt York? Or the Teddy Bear Shop? There are so many hidden treasures that I can bet you haven’t seen yet.
Even when you think you’ve been to every restaurant or you think you’ve seen everything there is more to see in York. Challenge yourself to find something new because hidden behind those small buildings are more easter eggs than you could count. Or if you prefer a spooky feel, you could always go to the Ghost Shop in the city centre!
Despite being fairly small, York’s charm is that there is always something new and exciting happening. It will truly make you feel like you’re part of the community, whether or not you decide to strike up a conversation with someone during these visits or you prefer to enjoy Christmas on your own – there is something for each person’s taste!