With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, many of us will be scrambling around trying to get everything done before we start enjoying the festive season. There’s a sense of guilt that comes with such holidays. Days, weeks spent enjoying yourself and not thinking about research, literature, methods, experiments, seminars, conferences. It doesn’t feel right.
You feel showered with feelings of shame that you should be doing something. Christmas day arrives and you still have niggling thoughts. That Devil on your shoulder telling you how terrible you are by neglecting your PhD, even on Christmas day!
I think it’s a time to re-charge your batteries, take a much needed (and deserved) rest.
Many of us (not just PhD students) feel like this around longer holidays such as Christmas and New Year. But I think it’s a time to re-charge your batteries, take a much needed (and deserved) rest. Take some time away from your PhD. Spend time with family, go to the Christmas markets, enjoy the holidays.
Time out is healthy
Taking time out is healthy for both the body and mind. A PhD is a long, stressful and challenging journey, so it’s vital that you take care of your health, both physically and mentally. You wouldn’t expect your body to finish a marathon, go back to the start, then run the marathon over again.
If you did, your body would likely collapse. Just because a PhD is mentally challenging and not physically challenging, don’t under-estimate the need for rest. Your brain is a organ too, and although it works in a different way to the rest of your body, it needs just as much looking after!
Relax the brain
I find that taking some time away from the PhD during the festive period can actually help generate new ideas.
I find that taking some time away from the PhD during the festive period can actually help generate new ideas. Taking some time out can give you a clearer perspective and spawn different thoughts. I’ve found myself enjoying the celebrations, doing something as simple as baking cupcakes, mixing the gooey mixture and out of nowhere an idea pops into my head.
I guess a PhD is a little bit like chewing gum. When you first start chewing it’s minty and fresh. But half way through chewing it’s lost some of its taste, but you keep chewing anyway. After a while all taste has gone and you’re desperate to get rid of it.
Don’t keep ‘chewing’ at your PhD. Take a break. Relax. Returning to the PhD after a much needed break can be like putting a new stick of gum in your mouth – You get a fresh burst of oomph.