An honest and vulnerable share…

Yes, this is my second post in as many days.

I sat down to write this post late last night after having dinner with a friend and only a few hours after my last post – which was all about non-negotiables and self-care. It feels kind of ironic in a way.

I was unsure whether to publish this post, but I decided to, and sooner rather than later – before I changed my mind. Because it’s always easier to talk about past struggles once they have been overcome and things are feeling better. It’s much more difficult and vulnerable to admit in the moment that things are hard.

I decided to post this because I am a huge advocate for mental health and I am always banging on about how important it is to share our difficult and challenging experiences in order for them to become accepted and so that we can know we are not alone – and I feel nervous about posting this. I feel like maybe I shouldn’t. But that isn’t what I aspire to, I want an open conversation and I’m going to have it. I believe that it really should not be a big deal to say you are struggling or that you’ve lost your way.

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Non-negotiables and self care

It’s self-care week! This campaign is led by the Self Care Forum and the NHS have got on board too. The focus of this week is about empowering ourselves to look after our health and to take steps that might reduce our chances of needing medical intervention later down the line. Self-care can operate on so many levels and can mean different things for different people depending on their lives and the things they might be facing at a particular moment in time. Today I wanted to share something that has been really important for me in my self-care journey (it really has, and continues to be, a journey…!), that is non-negotiables. 

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We’re all human in academia

This is not the post I had intended to write and send out this week, but nonetheless I felt inspired and like this was what wanted and needed to be shared on this occasion.

I recently requested for members of staff within a university department to complete an informal, anonymous online questionnaire about their experiences with mental health, both during their own PhD studies and also now as an academic. What follows are some of the insights I have had as a result of being privy to these experiences, ultimately, we are all human and though we may put others on a pedestal, they too have their own issues and difficulties to manage and cope with.

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Is it ok to make people feel uncomfortable? 

This post has been inspired by two very different sources – but they have come together to form a post and a message that I would like to share. One about speaking our truth and being ok with making people feel uncomfortable. Read on to find out why I think the answer to the question, “is it ok to make people feel uncomfortable?” is yes, and why I think we should be actively seeking to do so.

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Addicted to our desks? Part 2.

Hello again. In my last post I introduced a new three-part series dedicated to understanding and tackling work addiction and spent some time outlining workaholism, the challenges of overcoming it and some warning signs.

This time I’m going to dive a little deeper, and invite you to question some of your beliefs surrounding the way you approach work, what you might be gaining from work and how to start to change your prospective. These are only my experiences and my suggestions, there are undoubtedly a number of ways to approach this. I’d invite you to share your experiences if you have any, or to challenge any of the points I make.

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Addicted to our desks?

When I look around me I see that it is becoming more and more acceptable to work long hours, evenings, weekends and for work to ‘take over’ our lives, often to the detriment of our health and well-being.

I see this so frequently in academia, in my fellow PhD students and in the academics I meet. People often joke with each other about being a workaholic and it has become somewhat of a status symbol, but for some of us it is a real addiction, and a very challenging one at that.

Yes, I consider myself a recovering workaholic.

I’m certainly a work (!) in progress, but I feel like I’ve come a long way in the last few years and am able to manage my work addiction. It is something I feel strongly about and I want to share some of what I have learnt. This post is the first in a series that will focus on breaking the habit of working compulsively. I’m going to dismantle the concept of workaholism and share some of the things that have helped me to restore balance.

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Creativity for the sake of creativity

Hello! I am seven days post conference in (very) sunny Seville and am right back into the swing of things. I was once again reminded during my week away of the importance of stepping out of routine and day-to-day life once in a while to get inspiration and creative juices flowing. And talking of creative juices, that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

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