Take A Break Before It Breaks You

The PhD workload can weigh quite heavy at times. Zakiyya explores how taking breaks can actually increase productivity, as well as improve well-being.

Sometimes it all just feels like a bit too much. Too much to get done, to think about, to keep on top of, to pursue, to remember, to… you get the point. And sometimes it feels like that’s just the PhD life, that’s what you signed up for, so you just have to deal with it. Muddle through. But actually, no.

Pause. Take a minute. Breathe. You are unlikely to make any meaningful progress when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Taking a break often helps me to find perspective. There’s a whole big world of laughter and joy out there, and this stressful moment in the grand scheme of things is just that, a moment.

One of the best parts of my day is plugging in my headphones, switching on a long-form chatty podcast and just going for a walk around campus for an hour or so. On stressful days, it gives me some time to unplug, a chance to look away from my computer screen for a while and allows me to come back to my work feeling refreshed. It’s not always so easy to leave work behind, but even then, I find going for a walk gives me space to think through my problems and I often return to work…

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