Archives for posts with tag: wellbeing

Today has been designated as the most dismal day of the year.

Can it also be a challenge to have a great day anyway?

The third Monday of January is known as Blue Monday as it is thought that:

  • post-Christmas blues
  • dreary weather
  • dark mornings/nights
  • low bank balance
  • payday still over a week away

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Ah, Christmas. Tis the season to:

  • Overcommit socially;
  • Attempt to get EVERYTHING at work tidied up before you break up for the holiday;
  • Panic about presents;
  • Stress about people coming for Christmas dinner/being  a Christmas guest.

Chance are, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you’ll fall prey to PFF (Peripheral Festive Faffing) somewhere along the way and none of this is doing us any good! Read the rest of this entry »

I moved office this week and even though I did take the opportunity to get rid of some stuff, I still easily filled eight crates (everyone else had three) and my car with the leftover items (hubby not a happy bunny!).

Having been a trainer/lecturer for over 20 years, I still have training materials going back to the last five companies I have worked for as ‘they may come in’. I have even scanned a lot of it but I still have too much stuff to cope with.

I have decided that I need to find some way of reducing this down, so how can one de-clutter? (Image credit). Read the rest of this entry »

You might already  know that next Tuesday, October 10th, is recognised by the World Health Organsation as World Mental Health Day, and this year the focus is on mental health in the workplace.

Academic research can be both enormously rewarding and enormously challenging;  82% of researchers who responded to the 2017 Postgraduate Researcher Experience Survey stated that they were satisfied with their research degree programme, yet research by RAND Europe found that more than 40% of postgraduate students felt depression symptoms, emotional or stress-related problems or high levels of stress. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »



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.

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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:


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…

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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 »