While many students will have already headed home for the Christmas break during the travel window this month, for others, visiting family and friends this festive season may not be an option.

For those staying at student accommodation over the holidays, student living specialists, Scape, has shared its top tips on how to keep up the festive cheer and remain merry and bright over the next few weeks.

Get involved in virtual Christmas celebrations

Nothing says Christmas more than a festive masterclass or fun-filled Christmas themed event. With current restrictions making celebrations tricky for most this year, there are a whole host of affordable virtual events that companies are offering online for people to sign up to. Why not jazz up your evening with a virtual backstage pass to the Royal Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker broadcast for free on YouTube? Or attend a masterclass on how to make a gingerbread man garland or marshmallows and hot chocolate with John Lewis?

There are so many different offerings to choose from. Make a schedule of events to keep busy and have events to look forward to each day over the coming weeks. A schedule of fun festive events is guaranteed to keep you cheerful.

Attending an event each day will also ensure you are taking regular breaks from studying for your upcoming exams!

Explore the city

University cities and towns are at their most picturesque come Christmas – when the streets are adorned in twinkling lights and dazzling decorations. Make sure not to stay in your student room all day and take walks in the afternoons to witness the sights and experience the festive surroundings near campus.

As you are getting outdoors, it is also a great chance to safely meet and socialise with others. If your friends have headed home for the break, take the time to find out who is also staying in your building by posting on your residents’ platform or social group. Make sure to let them know you are around and would be interested in going out for walks to explore the city. It will be a great way to meet new friends and keep social over the Christmas period.

Stay in touch with loved ones 

Having had two national lockdowns, we have all become overly familiar with online video calling platforms such as Zoom. Whilst it is important to use these platforms to organise regular face-to-face virtual catchups to keep up with family and friends, do ensure you’re not spending too long on the video platforms, as it can draining.

Make your catch-ups festive themed this Christmas by exchanging presents that you have sent each other via post or organising a Christmas quiz filled with festive music and movie trivia.

What’s more, the Netflix Party platform is a great way to schedule Christmas movie nights with friends. Get yourself some popcorn and snuggle up watching a film like Elf or Love Actually – all whilst chatting and laughing along virtually with your peers!

Decorate your student space

While it might just be you who will see the inside of your room over the next couple of weeks, you can still dress up your space to make it feel festive – even if it is just for yourself to enjoy! Festive decorations and lights will automatically cheer you up and help you get into the Christmas spirit. Opt for lots of bright lights and decorations that will be easy to hang from the wall. If you are feeling crafty, why not make some of your own using red string, candy canes, holly or mistletoe?

Christmas BreakRest-up 

Try to enjoy the downtime that you have and get some much-needed rest following a busy term. Once students return in January and exam season starts, your schedule is likely to get busy fast so enjoy some self-care to ensure you feel ready once the new term starts.

Adopting a few simple self-care steps in the morning and at night can have multiple benefits, including more restful sleep, increased feelings of tranquility, and lower levels of anxiety. They will also help combat lethargy and lack of focus when studying for your exams.

Try to get some exercise and stretching in each day, as well as eating healthily when you can. Meditating is also a great way to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as having a digital detox, where you take some time off your phone each day.

Remember that it is okay to ask for help if you are feeling lonely or anxious. To seek help, students should consult with a general practice doctor or call an appropriate helpline that can deal with and recognise mental health issues. At Scape for example, there is always somebody to talk to, be it the reception team (who are mental health trained) or Scape’s Wellbeing Manager.