OnTrack and Creativity: wellbeing through drawing

The continuing restrictions of the lockdown in the UK have frustrated many and put a strain on wellbeing. But creative activities, such as drawing and painting, have a proven positive effect on wellbeing. Giles Penman discuss the benefits of drawing which he, University of Warwick Wellbeing Adviser Janet Winter and other research students encountered in an OnTrack session earlier this term.

Adding pauses in your PhD

As with anything, the key to a healthy PhD is an effective work-life balance. It is important to take pauses and breaks during your PhD to avoid burnout and so that you can enjoy what you do rather than viewing it as a liability. Manpreet Kaur discusses how she sprinkles breaks in her weeks and months.

Cooking during PhD for wellbeing and health

Life as a researcher can be very hectic with long hours in the library or the laboratory. And after all that hard and tiring work it can be all too easy to reach for the takeaway menu or the ready meal. But Giles Penman discusses his experiences of cooking to relieve stress and promote health and wellbeing.

Summer Wonderland or Christmas in the Tropics

Everyone in the Western Christian world is now wishing each other Happy Holidays. Whether you believe it or not, it is part of many people’s lives and it influences our calendar year. But how is it to spend Christmas in the southern hemisphere, where signs saying Let It Snow abound but the temperature is reaching 40 celsius? Our blog editor, who is currently back home in Brazil, shares her views about melting on Christmas and the breaks we all need to take sometimes.

How I did a PhD with a broken brain

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.

And That’s OK

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 libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.

On dealing with Anxiety in a highly competitive environment (Part 2 – Confidence)

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 libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.