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Law Students: staying motivated over the winter break

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

By Lily Edwards

It goes without saying that the holidays are an opportunity you should use to take some time off to relax and recuperate. However, what you don’t want is to fall out of routine over the holidays, which could impact you when the January term starts again. We have put together some tips on how to find the balance between staying motivated in law school and enjoying your time off.

Prepare in advance for the holidays

One of the most common errors by law students who may be struggling with workload in late November/early December is to think ‘I’ll do it over the winter break’. However, while this eases the load in the short term, the reality is you will likely find yourself even more stressed over the holidays trying to juggle all the work you put aside with other work you may get set over the holiday, social events and taking well-earned time off. So, if you find yourself wanting to postpone things to do over the holidays, our advice is to set a limit of a certain amount of work (a day’s worth) for example. Don’t leave any more than that, as you will find yourself having to sacrifice in other areas.

Set goals – but keep them realistic

One way to stay motivated is to set yourself a list of goals at the start of the holiday and try and achieve a certain amount by the end of each week, and eventually by the end of the break. The key here though, is making sure these goals are realistic, and fit in with your schedule. It is unrealistic to set yourself a goal of researching, planning, and writing a 4,000-word essay in one week if you’d like to have any other enjoyment! It becomes clear here why point number 1 is important, as having less work you have ‘left until the holidays’ means you can organise your to-do list better over the holiday and keep the workload realistic.

Spread out your priorities

It goes without saying that you will still probably have a hefty to do list to focus on over the break (it’s law after all!). After a long term, you deserve a well-earned break. While one option is to split your priorities of resting and studying on certain days/weeks, this is not advised as it is easier to stay in routine by doing a little bit most days. Of course, taking a few days off here and there is essential, but avoid thinking ‘I’ll relax for the first two weeks then do all the work in the last 2 weeks’, as it is likely that you’ll be out of routine and less productive in the first few days back. Even if some study sessions are a little more relaxed and casual than usual, just doing a little bit amounts up, and it means when you do allocate time for a more intense session, these will be less frequent and you will be well prepared.

Staying in routine

The thought of staying in a routine after having to follow one for the last term might sound awful to you… Understandably! However, this does not have to be strict, and it must be realistic. Small things, such as waking up around the same time every day and not going to bed too late will help you to make the most of your days, whether it be for studying or leisure.

Shift your priorities and mindset

It might be difficult but switching your priorities over the winter break is crucial. Your studies should still be a priority, but not your main priority! It is really important, not just for your mental health, for the sake of your productivity next term that you take some well-deserved time out to prevent burn out. You’ve earned it!

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