Why everything else matters: a break from research.

By Gabriela Sanseverino

On Friday’s, we shall now take a break from the series “Why (my) research matters” to talk about all the other things that matter too and remind all researchers out there that there is life beyond academia.

This week a good friend (and PhD) posted on twitter how he goes to sleep tired and wakes up exhausted… to which another (also PhD) responded: “welcome to academia“. And I caught myself thinking the same thing. Ish. We have all heard the maximum ‘Publish or Perish’, but no one should actually perish from sheer exhaustion because of their research.

Academics often don’t have regular schedules. Everyday can be a workday. I mean, that article has to come out, right? The thesis has to be written? And how can you rest when you feel guilty when you are not writing? Questions that I have heard again and again discussed amongst PhDs – all tired, and all afraid to stop and rest.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, burnout syndrome has risen amongst academics. For those who don’t know, burnout is a prolonged state of chronic stress that leads to symptoms in three dimensions: emotional and physical exhaustion, cynicism/detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness/inefficiency and lack of accomplishment. At this point, I wonder which academic doesn’t, in some level, identify with those symptoms. And that is terrifying.

Which is why now, on Friday’s, we will talk about why rest matters. Why metal health in academia is a subject every PhD should be able to talk without shame. Why everyone should remember there is life beyond research… And no one should feel guilty for taking a break.

Project Members

Funding

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This project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska Curie grant agreement No 765140