In 2015 I had a severe reaction to an antidepressant. Overnight I went from someone who had never experienced any physical anxiety symptoms to major panic attacks, agoraphobia, and constant general anxiety. I no longer had the capacity to do my PhD and took temporary withdrawal for a year where I had to learn how to function as a human being again. Upon returning to my PhD, a major achievement in itself, I realised the stress of even half an hour’s worth of work rendered me not only incapable of functioning for the rest of the day, but potentially the day after too. How was I supposed to do a PhD if I couldn’t even manage half an hour? If I was to complete my PhD, I needed to figure out how to work a stress-free day. Over the course of a couple of years I learnt and refined a routine that helped me to achieve this. It wasn’t much fun and I still struggle a lot of the time. I fall out of the routine and take shortcuts. I am human after all. But I sit here with a finished thesis and time to spare. This is how I did my PhD with a broken brain.
By Zakiyya Adam
Doing a PhD is demanding at the best of times, let alone amidst a global pandemic. Zakiyya discusses why productivity should not be the priority for PhDs right now.
What have you found to help you cope during the global pandemic? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
By Alice Cuzzucoli
One of the most challenging aspects we face in academia is how to measure our self-worth. On top of the constant amount of work we deal with, this further burden can make us feel like we are misinterpreting what we have to do to be “that exceptional”. So, when it comes to comparing ourselves to others, it is natural to feel inferior, or inadequate even. Ultimately, our confidence is what suffers from it, both from an individual and a collective point of view. In the second part of her series of essays, Alice discusses how her relationship with self-worth and competition affected her confidence during her PhD.
How do you deal with feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at email@example.com, or leave a comment below.
Planting, harvesting and the stolen time of rest. Can farm life provide a metaphor for academic life? Is the current COVID-tunnel finally creating an occasion for rest and nourishment or did it leave many researchers in even more pressure to perform, in a new virtual world, having to pay the costly interests of time debt? Do you feel the need to find golden productivity before your peers? Our author reflects on the many challenges faced with planting and sowing, nourishing your land, a waiting for your crops to yield results, be it your plants or your ideas.
So, everyone is now in isolation, only going out for essential supplies and one government-mandated walk per day. It’s now even harder for PhD students to get away from their studies and relax. Giles Penman offers a possible solution to the seemingly unending loneliness.
Do you feel that COVID-19 is affecting your PhD life? Do you feel the need to adjust to the current crisis? If the answer to both questions is yes, then this blog post is for you.
The PhD workload can weigh quite heavy at times. Zakiyya explores how taking breaks can actually increase productively, as well as improve well-being.
Do you have a mood swing during the winter season? Do you feel that the gloomy winter affects your PhD life? If the answer to both questions is yes, then this post is for you.
“Are there any other tricks you know which will reduce the amount of sleep I need each night, so I have more time during the day?” an old friend asks me. With only the slightest hint of a wry smile I respond: “That is not really how it works…”
In this post Sophie shares her thoughts on looking after your wellbeing over the Christmas period. Christmas time can be full of food, fun, parties and spending time with your loved ones and family. With this in mind, Sophie offers some tips on how to look after your mental health during the festive season. …
Moving from second to third year of a PhD is a significant milestone on the PhD journey. Typically most PhD’s in the UK are around 3 years long and therefore the final year is a busy period! It can be a time of mixed emotions. Students may experience feelings of achievement alongside anxieties about deadlines,…
In the second part of this blog post, Blanka explores more ways of fitting in, embracing new experiences, crossing your boundaries, and pushing yourself into uncharted territories. What could be just a small step for mankind is perhaps a giant leap for a man, and once it’s taken, it can truly make us stand out.
Do you find it find it daunting to stay fit while working on your PhD? With endless to-do lists, it can seem impossible to find some time to think about own wellbeing and take steps to improve it. In today’s post, Sophie discusses why being active during your PhD can offer you many benefits.
A new degree, and a new environment, perhaps even a new country, with no family and very little friends meaning no safety net in the uncharted territory? Doing a research degree which heavily relies on your original ideas and therefore, depends on your thoughts, effort, time management, and research skills, can indeed feel like a…
A healthy work-life balance. Many talk about achieving this phenomenon but what does it actually mean and can anyone ever truly have the perfect work-life balance? In the world of postgraduate study, being able to master this is one of many key aspects in successfully completing your journey without losing out on the world around…