At best, you’ll end up frustrated, stressed and grouchy. At worse, you’ll have an emotional breakdown.
In either case, it’s important to understand what both prevention and cure looks like.
When it comes to prevention, it pays to develop healthy work habits. I’ve talked in these emails before about the importance of good work-life balance, setting realistic expectations and acknowledging your limitations. This kind of awareness can set you on the path to a healthy relationship with your PhD.
But you’re human and you can’t always strike a great balance. There are times when you slip into unhealthy habits, or where you do overwork and end up on a path to burnout. It’s here that the cure is needed: taking time for yourself.
Whist you want to avoid reaching this stage, if you do notice yourself on the cusp of more unmanageable stress levels or feel completely overwhelmed, that’s when you need to take time out. I know what you’re thinking, I can’t, there’s too much to do. Well, you just kind of have to. Even just a day or two. Take some time, step away from the thesis, lower the stress levels and come back with your batteries at last partially recharged.
If you don’t, you’ll burnout and you may put the entire PhD in jeopardy.
Remember: you’re more important than your PhD.
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