Your wellbeing wisdom — self-care tips for PGRs, by PGRs

To mark self-care week, an annual event that encourages people to manage their day-to-day wellbeing, we asked Bristol’s PGRs what helps them unwind, de-stress and forget about their research.

The ‘top tips’ we received were varied — from dancing to dog-walking — but being able to take a break without feeling guilty was a common thread, as was scheduling time off.

Also: Netflix. (Well, who doesn’t love a box-set binge?)

As Gwen from the School of Veterinary Sciences put it in her thoughtful reply: ‘It doesn’t matter what you do, the important thing is to switch off entirely and not feel guilty!’

Wise words.

Your self-care tips

‘I sleep well. I eat well. I celebrate small victories.’
Jane, School of Education

‘Spending free time outside with animals. Dog walking or horse riding would be my choice. 🐶🐴☀’
Marta, School of Economics

‘I go outside, go for a run, walk, meet up with friends, dance, increase physical activity, eat healthy. Also, simply focusing on my breathing when I’m stressed helps me feel better.’
Lily, School for Policy Studies

‘I make sure I build in the time for myself into my schedule, that way I don’t feel guilty as I know I have the time for it! In terms of what I do it can vary from a Netflix binge to a nice long shower to baking… <3’
Sarah, SU

‘Promising myself one guilt-free hour a day to do something completely non-PhD related. Usually this is practising guitar, walking the dog or just having a nap. It doesn’t matter what you do, the important thing is to switch off entirely and not feel guilty!’
Gwen, School of Veterinary Sciences

‘Remind myself constantly that putting myself first is not selfish. Remember to be grateful for all the good things I have. Move slowly and take more rest than I think I need! Oh, and sometimes a nice G&T!’
Emma, School for Policy Studies

‘If you need a break — hours or days, take it. Burnout can lead to drop out, be kind to yourself and binge that Netflix show, take that trip. Then come back when you’re feeling refreshed and with fresh perspective.’
Tina, School of Arts

What would you add? Tell us in the comments or share your tips on Twitter or Instagram using #selfcareweek.

3 thoughts on “Your wellbeing wisdom — self-care tips for PGRs, by PGRs

  1. Interesting that all the self-care tips quoted are from women. I wonder why this should be?

    1. It is interesting (though assuming gender from names is unreliable).

      I can think of a few possible explanations off the top of my head – that women in academia are operating within an institutional space designed and built for men; that women generally are required to work harder for less recognition/credit, that women may be more likely to acknowledge a need for self-care practices or recognise them as such; that women may be more active on the media channels used to gather this information; that women may be more willing to share their vulnerability, even that the author’s friends are predominantly women…

      Are these the kinds of reasons you had in mind?

      *NB I suggest these are characteristics of gendered roles in a patriarchal society, rather than of ‘women’ per se

  2. Something similar to this question came up in something I am looking at right now – some research suggests that women perceive they have less support and time to themselves and so have to actively and assertively put their mind to making time and not feeling guilty or selfish. They can also have a higher workload if they are carers on top of everything else. Conversely, (and anecdotally!) I get the impression from men I speak to that they don’t agonise over taking time for themselves, they just do it without thinking, so it’s not such an issue – they just do it!

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