The holiday season is right around the corner and we know you would love to take a break from classes, studying, and other responsibilities to spend time with loved ones. With sugar cookies, (possibly) football games, and holiday traditions galore – how are you going to be proactive and create a study game plan, to have the best of both worlds? Whether you’re pursuing a nursing, medical, pharmacy, PT, or OT degree, you may be torn between keeping your studies on track and a much-needed break. Below are some recommendations from fellow students that can help you plan out your time so that you can stay on track and enjoy the holidays, too.
Staying Balanced Tip 1 – Find the Best Study Holiday Schedule
Your daily routine has gone completely out the window, as it should! The key to navigating this holiday season and reducing student stress is finding the time of day to study which works best for you. Plan your time, when to study, and when to take a break.
Consider how much time you will devote to studying and how much time do you need to allot to taking a break. Are your friends/family night owls and tend to stay up into the wee hours of the night completing puzzles, drinking eggnog, and watching old movies? If so, studying in the evening probably isn’t going to work out well. Instead, try waking up an hour earlier to get a good study session in. Imagine how many Picmonic facts you could learn in 60 minutes!
It’s also good to remember when working on your calendar to mark when you’ll be spending the whole day with family or attending a holiday party with your friends. It’s okay to completely cross those days off as you will be taking a break from studying. Be realistic in the schedule you create and plan ahead to make time for these necessary breaks.
Staying Balanced Tip 2 – Make a List of What You Want to Accomplish
Uncertainty surrounds the holidays, but there are some aspects that are 100% facts! For example, you know specifically how many days you will be free from classes (we wish it was longer too!). Since you have this finite number, create a list of everything you want to get done during break and figure out how many subjects you need to study per day to make it happen. For example, if you have a five-day break and want to get ten goals done, you will need to accomplish two per day. The two goals can be super hard or super achievable.
Take your schedule and write in what you will work to accomplish each day, week, month through the holiday season. Include topics you need to review, adding in time for recall quizzes to ensure you have the material down cold. Know your limits and accomplish them every day to stay on track. Staying disciplined and sticking to your list is how you avoid all-nighters and cramming when you get back to class.
Staying Balanced Tip 3 – Find Approaches that Work, Get the Right Resources
There is never enough time to complete everything. How do you make the most of the time you have? After you determine the amount of time you want to spend studying during break, the next thought should be what type of studying is best for you. For example, you may want to dedicate time to reviewing notes, watching Picmonics, reading a chapter in a textbook, or rewatching a lecture.
Don’t forget to incorporate tools to maximize your holiday study time like Picmonic. Spending 2-4 minutes watching Picmonics will really solidify your knowledge of the subjects and the quiz feature to test how well you remember it efficiently. By using brain memorization hacks like this you will be able to cover more material in less time all while knowing you’ll remember it later. Study smarter, not harder – especially when you’re on holiday break!
One popular timed study tactic is using the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique emphasizes 25-minute study bursts while breaking larger tasks into smaller segments, setting a timer, and incorporating a 5-minute break. Using this method will help conquer procrastination while maintaining productivity and focus. This is an ideal study tactic to use during the holiday season when you want to maximize your study time!
Holiday Study Bonus Tip: Lugging those big textbooks and your computer all the way home sounds like it’s taking up space where you could transport presents or leftovers. Since you’ll have your phone with you anyways, use the Picmonic mobile app to easily study on your phone for the holidays!
Staying Balanced Tip 4 – Take a Break and Disconnect
Take a break! Yes, you read that correctly. Close those books, put the phone away, take a break, and be present in life. You work really hard, study long hours, constantly push yourself, and completely deserve the time to relax and enjoy the holidays with your loved ones.
@JazmineK_PA outlined strategies to success and balance in this webinar. Some of her words of wisdom include; If it’s what you want – don’t give up, get organized, find balance, figure out how you’re going to study, find the tools that work for you, and create a healthy lifestyle. There is a time for creating a study plan, reflecting, and tweaking it along the way to succeed but there also has to be time for you too. One of the biggest takeaways though is making sure you take a break!
There are benefits of taking a break such as reducing stress, retention of knowledge, and reflecting on what you’ve learned. By breaking away, you can come back and learn even better. Stress for college students is extremely common so find the hobbies and experiences that help you disconnect and enjoy the now. The holidays are a great time to catch up on the things you truly enjoy!
Staying Balanced Tip 5 – Self Care
Speaking of doing things you enjoy…don’t forget to take the time you need to recharge. Even though studying is important to stay on top of your game through long breaks if you don’t recharge all your hard-earned knowledge won’t do you any good. It isn’t beneficial to anyone if you are burned out by the time you try to use and apply your knowledge.
Schedule self-care time doing things you enjoy, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Some relaxing activities could include, taking a nap, walking on a trail, making a hot cup of tea and sitting quietly looking out the window, doing a puzzle, petting your cats and dogs, or just Facetiming with an old friend. Remember self-care is always about you. If it makes you feel good, feel relaxed, and feel taken care of then you’re on the right path.
Yoga is a popular, mindful way of moving which can help you destress, recharge, and even focus. Our Nursing Scholar Marlee, a certified yoga instructor on top of being a registered nurse, created a 10-minute yoga class you can follow in order to re-energize and get a moment of relaxation which can last through the day after just 10 minutes. Finding the balance between life and school is essential to conquering student stress, enjoying your program, and continuing to press on to become a nurse, therapist, or medical professional.
Enjoy the Holidays
Have you taken a break, spent time doing self-care, and are still feeling burnt out? Don’t be afraid to reevaluate your schedule. You might think you scheduled enough time to balance it all but you might be trying to do too much in too little time. This approach works but the time for each is different for everyone and self-care is important, so make sure to tweak what you schedule to work for you.
Balance and preparation are the keys to staying focused during the holidays. You can still be a part of the holiday fun while keeping up on your studies. Create your holiday plan, maximize your study time with efficient tools like Picmonic, and enjoy your break. Just remember, seeing friends and family is important and can help you enjoy school by going back reinvigorated and relaxed.
Whether you’re working towards a therapy, pharmacy, nursing, or medical degree, the journey is a grind, from day one of class, passing boards, to being a practicing clinician. Enjoy the breaks you do have and spending it in the most meaningful way is extremely essential to reset and have the ability to keep pushing forward. Picmonic believes in you and is here to cheer you on to success!