I don’t often write blogposts in a journal & personal format, as I tend to stick to lists, tips, adventures, and photos. But occasionally I like too, and this is one of those times. I like to because I actually find it therapeutic (which is one of the reasons why I started this blog), and also because I think my stories will resonate with some of you (another reason why I started this blog).
Things have been busy for me lately, and I mean really busy.
I have two of my PhD studies going, bought a house, moved house, got a furchild (Frodo), I have been working a lot of hours on my volunteer state coordinator position, doing my volunteering citizen science position including being on a conference organisation committee, marking undergraduate student’s assignments, being on another organisation committee for a research week at uni, coaching netball, and also maintaining a social life (which gets larger when you have a puppy- funny that!). I am not listing this to make you feel sorry for me, to be truthful I enjoy being busy, that is one of the reasons I love my PhD, but lately things have been a little bit busier than I have been able to handle.
I have been forgetting tasks that need to be done, meaning that I wake up in the middle of the night remembering something important. I have been seeing my personal deadlines being pushed back further and further. I have got sick which was inevitable. I have felt tense and really uncreative and unmotivated (which is horrible for a PhD student). But… I feel like I am getting back on track. So what is the point of this post… Well I guess it is to admit to myself that I sometimes can’t do it all. I wrote a recent post about times you need to be extra nice to yourself during a PhD, and one that I listed was “when ‘life’ outside of your PhD is over-consuming”. This is what has happened to me recently. Buying and moving house was stressful (which should not have been a surprise), but I mean really stressful. I was stressed about paperwork, stressed about finance, very anxious that things would go wrong, and that anxious feeling ended up sneaking itself into other aspects of my life also. I felt completely different to my usual self and found it extremely hard to concentrate on work. I then felt like I was letting myself down.
Despite this, I still tried to do as much work as I could during this time, mainly because that I felt I had to. I shouldn’t have, I should have taken a period of time completely off. I ended up not working effectively anyway so taking a solid week or two off would have been more time efficient (but you can’t change the past). Thankfully, I now feel that after a couple of weeks of not being myself I am getting back into it.
It is so important to remember that life outside of PhD will, and is allowed to become the focus sometimes. Most people complete a PhD during a time of their life where life is consuming and changing (moving out, buying houses, getting married, having children, having children growing up, travelling etc.), and that is okay. Just remember that you will be better and your work will be better if you allow yourself some ‘You’ time when you need to, I know I will next time.