The holidays can be a wonderful time to reconnect with family, friends and to focus on the things that mean the most to you. But holidays can also be times of significant stress.
One of the things that can add to holiday stress is the type of intense study familiar to anyone preparing for their EPPP. Questions such as the following are common:
- “Should I just skip my holiday this year and focus on my EPPP prep instead?”
- “I want to be able to enjoy spending time with my loved ones during this holiday season, but I can’t stop thinking about all the EPPP studying I’m supposed to be doing! Is their a solution?”
- “How can I possibly enjoy this holiday season with the licensure exam hanging over my head?”
If any of these questions sound familiar, I have good news for you. Keeping to an EPPP course of study does not need to ruin your holiday. Whether it’s Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, summer camping or a family reunion, it is possible to pursue a productive course of EPPP study and still enjoy a relaxing, fun-filled holiday season.
It all comes down to balance. By learning to properly balance your EPPP studies with holiday relaxation and fun, not only will your life be a lot happier, but your friends and loved ones will find you easier to be around. Moreover, the strategies we give for balancing EPPP study with holiday celebrations can be used in a variety of other contexts as you struggle to balance EPPP prep with demands such as work, marriage, travel and rest.
Over the next few weeks we will be sharing these strategies, beginning today with one of the most important pieces of advice: studying little and often is better than not at all.
Little and Often
Depending on where you’re at in your EPPP studies, you may feel that you are in a position to take an entire week or two off for the holidays. However, the best practice is to try to keep at least some EPPP studying continuous throughout the holidays, even if it’s only half an hour a day.
Because of how the human brain works, studying little and often is better than intensive concentrated study punctuated by days of no work at all.
Keep Your Goal in Sight
Of course, keeping even a small study routine going during the holidays isn’t easy. When all your cousins are outside sledding or the rest of your family is around the Christmas tree drinking hot apple cider, it can be hard to be off by yourself studying EPPP key terms. You might be tempted to think “is it really worth all this?”
At times like this it is helpful to visualize your end-game, to imagine all the things you plan on doing after you have passed the licensure exam. Remind yourself that what you are doing now is a small sacrifice to pay for your long-term success, even if it means missing small portions of your holiday time.
Don’t be a Perfectionist!
Balancing a little-and-often EPPP study routine with the holidays can be especially difficult for those of us who suffer from perfectionism. Because perfectionists tend to be all-or-nothing people, they would rather not study at all than study in an environment that is less than optimal. A perfectionist will tend to wait until she has the perfect study environment instead of grabbing time that is available. And let’s face it, the holidays is not the most suitable time for studying, especially if you are surrounded by family, friends and distractions.
If you are a perfectionist, you may go into the holiday season determined to study little and often every day, but then after missing a day, you feel so guilty that you despair of being able to balance study with holidays. Out of guilt and frustration, you conclude that it’s no use trying to study during the holidays, and you don’t pick up your EPPP study materials until after the holidays are over. But this only creates more long-term stress since it sets you significantly behind in your studies.
The solution is that instead of thinking of yourself as a failure because you missed one of your study periods, take pride in the fact that you are managing to study at all during the holidays. Then do what you can to keep at least some forward momentum with your EPPP studies. If you miss a day, don’t worry – just keep pressing on.
Flexible EPPP Study
Our program at TSM is designed to accommodate the type of flexibility needed for the holidays. Using our online tools, you can custom-design a program to fit your own holiday schedule, specifying how many hours each week you are able to dedicate to study. It could be anywhere from two hours a day to 45 minutes. The key is to find the best fit for your life.
Over the next few weeks we’ll offer further advice on how to persevere with a course of EPPP study through the holidays.