How can I stay healthy during comps and dissertation?

by | April 29, 2012

Podcast Description: The comprehensive examination and dissertation writing stages of the doctoral journey can be particularly stressful and take its toll on the body, mind, and spirit. Discover strategies to help ensure your PhD journey is a healthy one.

Transcript: The following presentation is a production of Capella University and is not intended for commercial use.

Welcome to another topic in a series of podcasts regarding aspects of the comprehensive exam and dissertation process.

Writing the comprehensive exam can be a stressful time in the doctoral learner’s journey. The stakes are high, and the time is short. The dissertation writing process can tax the learner, too. How can you stay healthy during these stressful times?

To maintain your health, consider these recommendations. The first is taking care of your body and brain.

Physical maintenance is important. It is essential to take care of your brain and body. Build in time for breaks and rewards. Scheduling time away from your work station will, in fact, clear your mind, and will allow it to rejuvenate and refresh. Sometimes we can do our best academic thinking when we’re not really thinking about our work and writing. Your brain needs some down time to be able to think creatively and critically.

Avoid sitting, reading, and typing for hours at a time. It is important to take breaks during long periods of working. Build in time for movement or exercise. It is helpful to walk around the block for 10 minutes. Movement is important. It will get the blood flowing, and the exercise will naturally reduce stress and raise endorphin levels. Get up. Walk around. Stretch. Do simple office exercises, such as deep breathing, shoulder circles, and knee straightening. Do yoga. Exercises that target cardio function will serve you well on multiple levels.

In addition to movement, rest and relaxation and sleep are critical for physical and mental well being.

Eating well will serve your body. Eat a balanced diet–and avoid sugar and high glycemic foods such as doughnuts and potato chips, and if possible, reduce caffeine and alcohol. Stay hydrated. Water facilitates cognitive function.

Taking care of the body and brain will help to ensure physical and cognitive well-being. It also is important to take of your spirit. Build in time for fun. Take time for family events, movies, golfing, card playing, dancing and enjoying life. Stay connected with your friends. They are an important source of inspiration and joy.

Celebrate your accomplishments—even the small ones.

Make purposeful decisions to balance academics, work, family obligations, and leisure time. It is important to know your limits and to say “no.”

Take care of your spirit, mind and body, and they will take care of you.

Remember, you bring unique circumstances to your doctoral journey. Follow-up with your doctoral advisor for clarification and additional information about the dissertation process.

This presentation has been brought to you by Capella University and may not be re-transmitted or used for any commercial purpose without the expressed written consent of Capella University.

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