Author: Julie Walker
If there is anything I can rely on, its my pup Maple to remind me that its important to walk away from the screens for a while, and focus on what is really important... such as feeding her, walking her, and petting her.
Time management is delicate balance, especially when you are juggling many different responsibilities, like most graduate students do. We are often told to take time for self-care, but when you really need it, there always seems to be more pressing priorities or you can't get the support you need from superiors. I would love to say you should just stick to the establishment, and put your mental health needs first, but unfortunately the world still isn't that "woke" (- are the kids still using this word? I can never keep up..) and it might come back to hurt you.
Without becoming too much of a bummer by dragging on at length about academic culture and mental health stigmas- my only advice is to build up your support system. Talk to more senior graduate students or post-docs who have been through the process, take advantage of counseling services if your school provides them, or just vent to your pets, you might sound crazy, but hey they don't judge and they are unlikely to tell anyone.
Try to surround yourself with positive people (or pawsitive pets), so the next time your imposter syndrome rears its ugly head, or you start comparing your success against your peers, or if you just feel like if you have to reformat that graph one more time your head is going to explode- you can have someone to talk it out with, or just someone to bring you coffee... or wine.
Even though it is easy to become defeated in the face of a culture that values productivity over all else, it is still important to keep reminding yourself that mental health awareness is more than just that one week the university puts massage chairs in the union.
**sidenote- I half wrote this post because I am secretly a hypocrite and hate talking to people about emotions, but deep down I know its really important... and the other half because my dog is so freaking adorable and I am trying to build her internet presence. If anyone wants to hire me or Maple as a brand ambassador or social media influencer, I will quit school tomorrow**