Ires Ghielen blij met vergrootglas

Stress-Free PhD

Take charge of your mental health with my online course and reach that finish-line without burning out

Feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, insecure?

Are you working your butt off but it seems like that to do list is neverending? Feeling as if it will never be ‘good enough’ and that it is super busy in your head?

When you (just like >70% of PhD students) experience stress, anxiety and/or depressive feelings, you know how this takes the fun out of your PhD completely. Maybe you are even in doubt whether you continue with your PhD because of this…

Remember, you are that top 1%. Take care of yourself the way athletes do

You are in the major leagues. Just 1% of people get their PhD. So you are basically an athlete in the cognitive world championships. With all your ambition and enthusiasm, you started your PhD, you stepped into the academic world.

The academic environment is very comparable with topsports; with all the pressure, heavy workload (with your brain as muscle), high demands, and competition.

But there is also a difference. Athletes value their mental health a lot! They have an entire team built around them, from a physical therapist to a sportpsychologist. All in order to be able to perform on such a high level. Because they know they need to be mentally resilient in order to achieve their physical goals.

Why don’t we do the same in academia? There is no mental health preparation or caring team around you in order to take good care of your high-performing brain and to keep your head above water. You are expected to face all challenges by yourself…

Ires contemplating on the beach

Let’s face it. The academic environment is a breeding ground for your worst fears

Fear of failing, not doing a good job, not being good enough, being dumb, and so on…

And that is, unfortunately, something we cannot change. We will focus on what is in your control, what you have influence on. And that is; how you deal with it all and how you let it affect you less. You can actually take responsibility for how you feel, so let’s do this!

In this video about The circle of Influence I explain a bit more about where you have the control and power, and where I can help you feel more calm and confident!

Stress-free-phd-course mock-up

In Stress-Free PhD I show you:

  • The interplay between our cognitive abilities and stress
  • Why your supervisor can be harsh, and why the academic environment is so toxic
  • How all this is a breeding ground for your personal fears
  • How you try and deal with stress, and whether that is working out
  • How to improve your stress-management
  • Why you don’t have to take criticism and negative feedback personally
  • How to effectively communicate with your supervisor(s)
  • How you can work smarter instead of harder, to actually have time left for (family)life.

“The course was very helpful, I wish I had found it behore starting my PhD 🙂 (this is my perfectionist voice talking haha). I’m still not sure if I’m going to graduate as a PhD but I have chosen some goals (health and work related) to achieve during my last months. Watching your videos and guidance, gave me a lot of tools and confidence for making that possible.”

student of Stress-Free PhD

I know what you are going through

In my second PhD-year, I went through a burnout because I was completely overwhelmed by all that was thrown at me. As you can imagine, especially as a psychologist, I felt like I was failing super-hard… 

At that time, it was hard for me to say ‘no’ and set healthy boundaries, not wanting to disappoint my supervisors and also to be able to compete with all the brilliant brains around me. My to-do list kept growing and I tried to work harder and harder to manage it all. Before I knew it, I couldn’t keep up anymore and I felt like I had no control. My PhD became my whole life because I was thinking about it constantly and could not switch off and relax.

I used my burnout (after recovering a bit first) to change my mindset, improve my stress-management, and change my entire way of working. Which eventually made me finish my PhD in time while being my most confident and relaxed self :-). And that is exactly the transformation I want to help you make!

You have more control and freedom than you might think! And that has everything to do with your own mindset.

You can let go of negative thoughts and fears (yes, really). Which leaves you in a more peaceful state of mind. And from there, you get more creative, productive, and relaxed. Imagine that you stop taking criticism personally. Then no matter what feedback comes your way, you use it to your advantage and let the rest slide right off your back. No more ruminating and feeling bad about yourself!  

You feel confident, even when talking to your supervisors because you know exactly how to communicate in tactful and effective ways, to set boundaries and say ‘NO’.  Imagine you enjoy practicing science again. You still don’t have to love the academic culture and environment, but at least you feel excited and focused on your own research project.

Ires Ghielen

Take charge of your mental health and your PhD

Allow yourself to stop feeling overwhelmed as off today, with a temporary 75% discount: from 197,- for only 47,-.

Wait, who am I kidding. You’re a researcher. You want to know all the specifics :p

The course is build up with these 10 modules (containing 26 lessons):

1. Insight

Into stress and what it does to our thinking, and exactly where you have the power to improve your mental health and stress-management

2. Communication dynamics

Discover why your supervisor and the academic culture makes you feel insecure and lonely, and why criticism is never personal

3. Why you feel stressed

What are the factors that make you feel stressed about certain situations whereas others seem hardly affected in the same situation

4. Strategies

Effective and ineffective anti-stress strategies, which ones work for you?

5. Become calm and confident

Become the kind of person and researcher you want to be

6. Break the rules

Rules that don’t suit you, and make up new rules that help you and are more effective

7. Letting go of stress

Improve your stress-management skills and become more compassionate with yourself

8. Communicate effectively

To set boundaries, priorities, and say ‘no’ in a tactful way, which helps you to set and maintain a healthy work-life balance

9. Upgrade your productivity

By working smarter, not harder

10. Next level mental health

Discover how you can keep improving and evolving towards a resilient and sustainable scientist

“I am actually not a PhD student anymore (but still in temporary contracts). I struggled a lot during my PhD and this program is very insightful to better understand these past situations and to avoid such situation with the PhD student I am following right now. It also speaks to me as a researcher more generally and how to face current challenges (even if I am beyond the PhD).

student of Stress-Free PhD

So how does this work?


You receive 2 mails directly after registration: 1 with your invoice and 1 with your account details

Start right away!

The first module is immediately available. Every day a new module opens in the online environment.


6 months access

As you go through it completely independently, you can take as much (or little) time as you need for the lessons. 

Stress-Free PhD!

After finishing the course I am certain that your PhD will become a lot less stressful. Easypeasy? No. Easier? Yes 🙂

Are you ready? Let’s make your daily life more pleasant 😉

Allow yourself to stop feeling overwhelmed as off today, with a temporary 75% discount: from 197,- for only 47,-.

Frequently asked questions


Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

How much time will it cost me?

That is completely up to you. Every day a new module opens (with in it several lessons), so you can spend time on it every day (max 15 minutes). But you can also set some time aside once a week.

I give you lots of tools and also exercises in the course, that are helpful to do several times and for which you can really take your time.

Sometimes things need to settle a bit, or you have to try a few times before they benefit you in the way you hope or want. So take the time you need. You have access to all the materials for 6 months, so no rush :-).

When can I start?

You can start immediately!

To give the software some time, just to be sure, it allows you to start within 15 minutes.

You will receive an e-mail with the account information, and from me personally to give you a warm and big welcome :-).

I want to give you the opportunity to start whenever suits you best, that’s why I organized it like this. There are no set dates to start, you can start anytime and anywhere.

I don't have time now, can I start at a later time?

The discount is only temporarily available. So it is a good decision to enroll already now. 

You have access to the course for 6 months, so it is totally okay to start at a later time.

Be aware though! Relieving stress only works when you put some time and effort into it, so don’t postpone it too long!

The earlier you start, the sooner you can apply everything and the more benefit you get from it. And usually when you have ‘no time’, this means you are in definite need to make time so you’ll never have ‘no time’ again ;-).