Ask Amber: Stress for the holiday season

Is there a way to help get through these final few weeks?

Hi Amber,

Finals season is rapidly approaching, and I am not even remotely prepared for it — intellectually or emotionally. I have reached a point where I am entirely exhausted from thinking about anything to do with school and I’m just waiting for the holidays to come around so I can finally take a break.

Of course, this means I’ve lost motivation to finish up the semester, and now I’m stressed about these finals that I am not prepared for in the slightest. Part of me is upset that I can’t get over myself and just push through these last few weeks, but the rest of me does not care about how well I do during finals.

In addition, I’m starting a new job for holiday break, which is an added layer of stress on my already cramped schedule. It feels like as soon as I finish up on one obligation, another one jumps out demanding my attention and energy.

I just needed to vent some of this frustration out. How do I get through this season?

Merry Stressmas


Dear Merry Stressmas,

Your frustration about this time of year is justified. I have never known someone who, at this point in the semester, is still trucking along with the same amount of energy they had at the beginning of the year. It’s cold, it gets dark early and our brains are still in rest mode from Thanksgiving break.

What I can tell you right now is that, even though you say otherwise, you clearly do care about doing well on your finals. I don’t think they would be causing you as much trouble if you didn’t care about them at all. A loss in motivation to do your school work can be incredibly difficult to overcome, but I think it’s a good sign that you are trying anyway. If you can’t give 100% on every final, maybe you can give 75%, or even 50%. Any amount of effort is better than none. I encourage you to continue to try to push through the rest of this semester.

At the same time, I want to warn you to not overwork yourself. I’m the type of person who always seems to be tilting right on the verge of burnout, which is overall the most important thing to focus on avoiding. Remember to take some time every day for yourself and your well-being. Even if it’s just listening to your favorite song or having a phone call with a loved one, taking time to separate yourself from the cause of your stress can help you cope with it when you face it again.

There’s not really much advice I can give you about how to deal with your specific type of stress. I hope that you have a set support system that can help you cope with these few weeks, whether that be friends, family or even a counselor.

Best of luck,