Are you feeling physically or mental exhausted with your daily academic work, or experiencing high levels of stress? You can relax as this is a part and parcel of any PhD course and cannot be avoided. This is not to suggest that PhD stress is not real and damaging to your personal well-being, but to make you aware that you are not the only one experiencing it.
At the same time, you must not ignore the warning signs of stress and try to keep working through it, as this will only worsen the situation.
So, are you experiencing any of the following stress signs?
- Physical or mental exhaustion on a daily basis
- Inability to focus on the immediate task
- A general lack of motivation and drive
- Constant fear and sense of helplessness
- Constant tension or fear of the course workload
- General feeling of not belonging to the high standards of a PhD program.
If you are experiencing most (or still worst, all) of these signs, it is probably a good time to relax and reduce your stress levels, by following the tips below:
Remember that your PhD pursuit is a marathon race, and not a sprint. Slow down or take a complete break for a few days. Make a list of things to do and focus on the immediate things that have the highest priority. Breaking down a larger task into multiple subtasks can help you relax and reduce your stress.
Prepare yourself for things to go wrong.
Despite meticulous planning, things can go wrong at any stage of your PhD course. Do not blame this on yourself, as it has and will happen to the best of students. Engaging with the problem in hand and focussing always on the solution will ensure the success of your research project.
Managing the fear factor
Fear factor can be a major cause of stress. Fear can be at different levels. Are you fearing not being able to complete your PhD, or not being able to devote your time and focus on your PhD course? Understanding the level of your fear can help you in overcoming the same.
Doing a PhD course does not mean that you have to make drastic changes to a healthy lifestyle. Do not deprive yourself of your normal sleep, and stick to a healthy diet and plenty of water. You can also seek stress-related help from your family or close friends.