Hello! And a very warm welcome to the first Doctoral College Wellbeing Week for PGRs and ECRs.
Wellbeing Week was born because we recognise that research is stressful. Some of that stress is useful, as it provides us with the energy and motivation needed to continue working, and working at our best. However, not all stress is ‘useful’ stress. And there are all sorts of other wellbeing issues associated with working in a research environment. These can range from not leading a healthy lifestyle – working too late, not eating right – to more serious mental health issues.
The purpose of Wellbeing Week is to give you the space to thing about YOU – to do a little health check about how you’re feeling and how you’re coping. Hopefully you’ve seen our mindful colouring sheets and self-care postcards popping up around campus. These are to encourage you to do small things to take care of yourself. This week, we’ll also be running some bigger things to help you do this – from wellbeing workshops and exercise classes to research talks on some of the cutting edge work happening in this area at Exeter. The best thing about this is that’s all exclusively for PGRs and ECRs, and absolutely free! We have events running at Streatham, St. Luke’s and Penryn so do take a look at the Doctoral College website for information about whats happening.
We know that a fair proportion of our students are not campus based, so we’re running an online campaign too. It’s in two parts – the first is our twitter campaign, where we want to challenge you to take a break, go outside and have a 5 minute walk. When you complete your walk, either tweet us using #DCWellbeing or visit our wellbeing week website to register your walk. For every register, we will donate £1 to the charity Mind. We’ll be announcing at the end of the week how much money we’ve raised!
The second part of our online campaign is an online wall, on a password protected area of the website, where you can anonymously share your experiences of being a PGR or ECR at Exeter. This is an opportunity for you to share how you feel studying and/or working at Exeter, and what the key wellbeing issues are for you.
In line with this, we thought we’d kick off Wellbeing Week by sharing some resources which we find really useful. You can find all these, and more, on our ELE page.
These blog posts really helpful in thinking about the up and downs, and general stresses of being a researcher:
- The Swamp of Sadness – The Thesis Whisperer
- Dealing with Lab Stress – PhD Talk
- Letter to an Unknown Doctoral Researcher: On Comparing Yourself to Others During Your PhD – Pat Thomson
- Taking My Own Advice: Self-Care in the Academe – PhD Talk
- Using Mindfuless to Navigate the Emotional Landscape of the PhD – Donna Franklin
Sometimes it’s hard not to feel alone. These blogs really useful in helping connect with others in similar situations:
- Academic Mental Health Collective
- Guardian PhD Network
- Guardian PhD vlogs
- PhD Comics
- The Thesis Whisperer
And on twitter:
Got any more? We’d love to hear from you!
We hope you find these resources and our online and face-to-face activities useful. Keep an eye on the blog and @ExeterDoctoral for more posts, resources and discussion throughout the week!
Researcher Development Programme Manager (PGRs)