I usually find this time of the year to be quite stressful. While storefronts are decorated with twinkling lights and my birthday is always around the corner, I instead associate the coming of the holiday season with exams, countless assignments, and a perpetual to-do list as the academic term comes to an end. I hear jingle bell rock at the supermarket and imagine a looming trigonometry paper that I could be studying for. I see intricately decorated ornaments on a plastic tree and am reminded of a biology report on cell structure. For years, it feels as though the onset of the holidays has been characterized by intensely crunching on candy canes with my friends in the library while studying for calculus. The pressures of school, work or social life seem to suddenly pile up and are masked under a facade of Santas and snowflakes and sweet treats.
This time last year, I yearned for familiar faces as I struggled to adjust to my new life in a new country. I would write essays alone in the hallway kitchen, surrounded by a sea of heavy-eyed students. The snowy ‘Winter Wonderland’ outside the windows seemed instead like a dismal and dreary wasteland. I missed warm, home-cooked food as I grudgingly microwaved cup noodles on my birthday. I was longing for my friends and the sticky rainforest air of Singapore, a perpetual summer daze.
It was the small things that would give me bursts of comfort - getting a vanilla cone with my roommate, FaceTiming a far away friend, or using my all time favorite orange-scented shampoo. I have come to realize the importance of taking a break and focusing on things that may seem insignificant. Do nothing for an hour, or maybe for a week. This year has undoubtedly been long and arduous; the holidays may seem strange for many. You deserve that extra slice (or maybe 5 extra slices) of cake, and you deserve to pause for a minute and listen to your favourite song uninterrupted. Re-read that one book you love for the 10th time, sip your smoothie slowly, put extra cheese on your pizza, take your time getting ready in the morning, and savour your time alone or with friends and family! Ethos loves you and is here for you <3
(From November 28, 2020)