(Here's an article I wrote in 2004 for dissertation students)
As you know working on the dissertation can be fairly
stressful and draining. On a regular basis, one needs
to de-stress for one’s mental and physical health. When
stress is appropriately dealt with then one’s thinking is
clearer and one’s energy is available for the dissertation
work. Taking healthy breaks from the dissertation will
rejuvenate us for the work and diminish the need to
procrastinate. Also, if we deal with stress well we will
be less likely to be short and inpatient with friends and
family. Listed below are 10 ways to help you relieve
stress and rejuvenate yourself. Try one or more to see
how they can be beneficial to you.
1. Exercise on a regular basis.
This will help keep your body healthy and your mind, sharp.
2. Get the amount of rest you need.
Lack of sleep will effect your ability to concentrate on your
dissertation. Plus you will tire quickly and thus have less
energy for the dissertation.
3. Consider going for walks and enjoying the outdoors.
Walks in fresh air can both relax and invigorate you.
This renewed energy can be used to help you with your
4. Go out and dance.
This will take you out of your routine and help you release
stress while having fun.
5. Look at a photo of nature or other soothing scene for a
few minutes. Imagine that you are there.
If you were there what would you smell, hear, see, taste and
feel? What would you be doing there? This is a nice way to
relax for a few minutes. Then have that same nice relaxing
feeling as you look around the room you are in and notice
those things around you. If you don’t have any nature photos
or you would like me to e-mail you one of mine then please
send me a request to my e-mail address at the bottom of this
article. I’ll be glad to send you one you can keep in your
6. Get a relaxing massage.
You’ll feel wonderful. Loosen some knots in your body
while you release tension and stress.
7. Snuggle with your partner.
This has the added benefit of bringing you two closer.
Dissertation work can add stress to one’s family and love
life. So keeping in mind to continually invigorate and
nurture your relationships can lessen the chance of estrangement.
8) Seek out assistance when you find it’s very difficult
to keep in action on your dissertation.
Receiving assistance can give you the support and encouragement
you need to work on the dissertation. You can receive assistance
from a friend, a family member or a coach.
9) Play with your cat or dog.
Consider getting one if you don’t have one. It has been shown
that playing with a pet helps lower blood pressure. Also,
isn’t it a treat to have a pet greet you at the door? Plus,
it’s hard to beat the unconditional love that your little
friend can give you.
10) Finally, be kind to yourself.
In general, treat yourself with care and respect. This will
help bring a most helpful attitude to your dissertation work.
This attitude lessens the chance of the stress getting out of hand.
If you do some of these then you will notice more energy,
alertness, moments of joy, and creativity. Doing these
will help bring balance in your life while working on the