But I had to go through some deep sh*t first…
I fell down, and i fell hard
I was burned out…
After my first year of PhD, I couldn’t handle the pressure, competition, demands, and expectations anymore.
I was working so hard, I had exhausted myself.
And at that point, it felt like I was failing. I couldn’t ‘hack it’ in the academic world and I was not a good scientist (to put it nicely, in my head this was way more cruel).
I called in sick, official label ‘burn-out’, and went into therapy. As a psychologist you can imagine this feels like you’re failing as well when it comes to your mental health. I felt like ‘I should have seen this coming‘.
I came to the conclusion that the learning I had to do was about; not wanting to let others down, my difficulties setting boundaries, insecurity, perfectionism. I can put down a few more, but you get the gist.
So that is what I did!
What did I do?
How I became the most chilled out and productive PhD student
> I prioritized my mental health, and physical health is an important part in this for me as well
> I improved my stress-management skills
> I learned how to tell my supervisors ‘NO’ in a tactful way and communicated with them in a more effective way
> I got to know what I truly value and took action on that (science was still high on the list but not on top of the list)
> I let go of my perfectionism, which is still a challenge sometimes
> I started to work smarter instead of harder (I got more done in less time)
> I created productive habits that made me work in a more relaxed and focused way
> I stopped adapting myself to the academic environment and started to live and practice science by my own rules
And that made me a sustainable and resilient researcher.
Because I discovered that when I was doing great, my progress and dissertation was doing great too!
So that is what I wish for you as well 🙂
10 random facts about me
> Especially when I’m stressed, I bite my nails. If they are quite alright and growing, that’s a sign I am doing great 😉
> I did a twerk-course some years ago (I leave the judging up to others about if I can really do it)
> A kid skied over my hand during my vacation, he sliced the tendon of my middle finger. This happened at the time when I was in the middle of writing a paper, imagine doing that with just one hand (the left one, and I am not a leftie…)
> I am a real morning person, so most of the posts you’ll read are written in the early morning
> These mornings I start with a ginger-lemon shot, even if you are not a morning person, this will definitely wake you up!
> I am drunk after two glasses of wine, which can be very annoying but is also very cheap 😉
> During Corona, I started to learn how to play an instrument. I borrowed a keyboard and practiced for several months. Then I stopped for some reason (can’t remember why…), but I can play a little
> I really like to get dirty. So tumbling in the sand, mountainbike through water, gardening (if you do it my way at least), and attending a mudrun, very much my kinda thing 😊
> my head is really small. Once during a test, they had to get a kid-size EEG-cap. I guess it’s not about a big brain, mine just works extremely efficient 😉
> Me and my boyfriend have the agreement that we have to do something weird every day. Doesn’t have to be together, but just to remember not to take ourselves too seriously and have some fun!
And oh yeah! This is Rossi ❤️
He and my boyfriend are the most important men in my life, my best friends. Rossi is curious and stubborn, just like me, and he grows up way too fast!
Let’s connect so I can help you feel less overwhelmed, and more relaxed and productive in your science-career.
And also to follow this (not so) little trouble maker .