It’s Valentine’s Day, the best/worst day of the year, depending on your current relationship status.

But as a PhD-student, you may find your partner (or friends, if you’re single) is coming second to your thesis.

That’s because you may feel that what it takes to be successful is to marry your thesis.

You then feel like you have to devote your entire life to it, pushing away other things that are important for a balanced life (like, say, friends, partners or hobbies).

But instead of marrying your thesis, treat it like a cruel-mistress. See it as this part of your life that is doing it’s best to ruin you and to make your life as difficult as possible but that, because it’s just a mistress, you can keep on the periphery as an addendum to an otherwise balanced, fulfilled life.

What does that mean in practice? It means showing up when you have to and letting it do its best to ruin you. But – and this is the crucial bit – it also means stepping away from it regularly, having clear PhD/life boundaries, not taking things too personally, and realising that your PhD is just one part of your life, not all of it.

In short: take this weekend off.

Good luck.