Over the last few months, I have felt that I gradually started to slip my PhD down on my priority list.
While finishing is still one of my top priorities (don’t get me wrong), I’ve finally managed to let more important things in my life be on top again.
Maybe I simply still am cherishing my honeymoon feeling, but somehow I have the impression that through the wedding preparations, the actual wedding and the honeymoon, I’ve gained a fresh perspective.
Maybe I am just getting older and finding it easier to put things into perspective.
Maybe it is a consequence of my actions to Simplify, and adopting a more minimalist view on the world.
Whatever caused this, I have recognized this newly gained ability of letting go of worries as one of the greatest tools in the final months of dissertation writing.
And while I cannot really pinpoint what caused this shift in mindset, I can recommend the following ways of letting go and getting a new and refreshed outlook on your PhD research:
1. Escape for a weekend
If your head starts to fill up and your thoughts can’t move around anymore, you’re already way beyond the point where you need a break. Grab your beloved, your parents, your friends or whoever is up for a little break and head out for a weekend.
2. Take a side project
Divert your thoughts by taking one of your hobbies (as part of forming your creative habit) to the next level. Turn it into an actual side project, and engage in this activity for a significant amount of time per week. Don’t just run, but train for a race. Don’t just play music, but sign up for an open podium and work towards a performance.
3. List your priorities
Time for a reality check. If you can’t think of nothing else but your thesis, have nightmares of everything that can go wrong when printing, or all the possible negative feedback your committee could come up with, then it’s time to see if you really wanted your thesis to be the most important thing in your life. No, right? So – grab a pen or open your Google Drive or Evernote, and make a list of what keeps you busy in life. Identify your priorities, and go and spend a little more time on your other interests.
4. Question your worries
For every panicky thought that crosses your mind, you can train yourself to actually question that thought. Ask yourself the following questions:
– What’s the reason for this panicky thought?
– To avoid real panic, what should I do?
– If something really needs to be done, when can you do it?
– Schedule it, and tell yourself – see, we are going to do it, and all will be fine.
5. Use a guided meditation
If you can’t sleep without the nightmares, try freeing some space in your mind by using a guided meditation,