Archives for posts with tag: wellbeing
xmen team

Everybody knows that researchers are basically superheroes, right?

This blogpost isn’t about  teamworking or team roles or even managing a team. If you’re looking for these, turn back! Or, at least, have a squiz at some of the other excellent posts on the Think ahead blog.

This post is simply an invitation to you to consider who, on a basic level, is on your side? Who’s got your back? Who can you turn to for support when you’re struggling? In short: who’s on your team?

Evidence shows that having strong social support networks improves resilience to stress, yet academic research can feel isolating (and stressful!), whether you’re working on a collaborative project or on your own; identifying people that you can turn to for support – whether formally, or informally – is incredibly important. Read the rest of this entry »

stress laptopWorking in academia, most of us don’t have the ability to hand work over to someone else when we need to take a break so that it all keeps ticking along. Typically after taking a week off with the kids for half term, I then get hit on the back of the head with a freezer block and get a lump the size of an egg and 2 days later come down with a throat infection as soon as I start back in the office.  In the time you are away the emails ridiculously build up and the to do list is getting longer and longer. We take breaks to avoid stress but in the process it often feels worse when you come back then when you went away. How on earth do you catch up on all this and not just end up rocking in the corner as the stress builds up? Read the rest of this entry »

 

madge

Dignified wolf…

Over the bank holiday weekend, I said goodbye to the  world’s best dog. There’s almost certainly a shed-load of peer-reviewed research to back that up, but I can’t find it just now, okay? Just, you know, take my word for it that Madge was, objectively speaking,  the world’s best dog.

She was very old and creaky, and had recently started to get significant pain in her joints. She had a morning of eating her favourite treats, playing with squeaky toys and being treated like royalty, then she went to sleep in the sunshine, surrounded by her humans. Without a doubt, it was the right decision at the right time. Knowing that didn’t make it any less heartbreaking, however.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m a bit weird about personal and professional boundaries; I like to keep things pretty separate. I mean, you don’t need to know that I get a lot of genuine joy out of Spectrum emulators or that pimple popping videos are a Thing on the internet and I’ve watched more than one. You’d think less of me, right? Oh.

But yesterday I shared a post on one of  my personal social media accounts without any comment attached, and the response from friends, family and, actually, total strangers (friends of friends of friends…) made me realise just how much we all need to hear and acknowledge this sometimes. Particularly in academia, which is only now starting to get to grips with mental health issues in its students and staff. It’s simply this:

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So, today’s blog isn’t going to be filled with my opinions; I just want to use the space to offer up a few bits of linky-goodness, to people who are struggling with their mental health, or who are trying to support someone who is. Read the rest of this entry »

o-new-years-resolutions-facebookHappy New Year to everyone from the Think Ahead Team!

New Year is the time when many of us make those New Year resolutions. We aspire to put things in place to be better versions of ourselves, be it to start that diet (…again!), do more exercise so sign up to a gym, stop drinking/smoking, save money…

Read the rest of this entry »

For a festival of peace and goodwill it seems to manage to create a lot of stress and hardship. So how can you ensure you enjoy the festive season rather than feeling like you’ve been ‘sleighed’! As always we are concerned about researcher wellbeing,  so here are some tips for you> All obvious? So how come you don’t do them!

Winter tiredness

Shorter days provwinter-tirednesside us with less daylight hours and your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy. We often have to keep going but we need to accept we will slow down over winter. To help keep your energy levels up try to eat regular meals/healthy snacks every three to four hours, rather than large meals. Regular exercise can give you an energy boost and make you feel less tired. Read the rest of this entry »

Wnysoc-mediae talk a lot on this blog about the importance of being connected. Of having strong professional connections to help you as you develop your career, and of being connected to peers and colleagues within your discipline. It’s also certainly true that connecting with other people can help you to protect and improve your mental wellbeing

However, I’ve been thinking vaguely for a while about the fact that we’re all so connected, and expect everyone to be similarly connected and responsive. I’m sure we can all think of times when we’ve received an email at night, only to have a follow up email ping into our inbox by the next morning because we haven’t replied in the 12 (non-working) hours in between. Maybe we’ve sometimes been the pinger, too.

I was recently at a conference, and realised, about a third of the way into the morning session, that I’d been so busy tweeting the highlights that I hadn’t engaged as deeply as I normally would. Tweeting at conferences is kind of expected now, and as I searched the conference hashtag, it became apparent that I was far from alone in doing this. But – shocker! – when I put the phone down and moved away from the hashtag, I was better able to listen to and think about the topic being discussed. In short, I got way more out of it. Read the rest of this entry »

researchwell jpgThis blog is run by the Think Ahead team, at the University of Sheffield. We work with postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers, supporting them to develop careers inside or outside of academia. We’re very privileged to be able to  work with researchers as they progress through their PhD, start a new research contract or take the next step in their career. We see their successes and their achievements – and it’s brilliant!

Inevitably, though, we also see the other side: researchers who are struggling or stressed-out.  Because – spoiler alert – academia is hard! It’s enough of a challenge when everything’s plain-sailing in the rest of your life but, when a perfect storm of work and other life stresses come at once, it can feel overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »

This is a guest post by Kerry Montgomery (@kmonty83), Ana Coneo & Kate Adkins (@AdkinsKate), PhD students in Psychology and part of the Sheffield centre for Medical Humanities.

Picture1.pngRecently we were successful in gaining a grant for researcher-led activity via Think Ahead to hold a symposium, titled: From stigma to inclusion: Understanding the individual experience of mental health. As PhD students with an interest in stigma we wanted to bring people together with similar interests to think about taking a research idea forward, mainly, how can research reduce stigma and discrimination? Organising a symposium is definitely an excellent way of connecting with people and developing an understanding of what is involved in holding events (don’t underestimate how long it can take to set up an email account or organise tickets!). Read the rest of this entry »

There’s been a recurring phrase uttered around the office this past week… “I can’t wait for Easter”. I know that I’ve said it almost on a daily basis, not in anticipation of a chocolate egg eating frenzy (though those that know me will find this hard to believe), but more in the fact that I need a break. That’s a break from early morning starts, commuting into Sheffield, emails and just everything work related. I think I’ve needed this for a while, but deadlines and day to day business have caused me to get caught up in the moment and push that nagging feeling of tiredness to one side and carry on regardless. Read the rest of this entry »