So, don't get jealous, but I am blogging today whilst on my way to California. I should probably be winding down before the flight, but I am writing this for two reasons.
Firstly, I wanted to let you know that I will be away for a couple of weeks and will not be posting any updates for a while. I will be back at the end of October, raring to go on year three of my EngD.
Secondly, I would like to use the opportunity of going on holiday to emphasise the importance of setting aside time away from doctoral study in order to let your brain rest. It really is so important to take that time away to look after yourself. Although it was Mental Health Awareness Day yesterday, you need to look after your mental health every day, and allowing yourself to regularly stop thinking about work is one way of taking a healthier approach to studying.
You don't have to fly to L.A. to do it though. You could read a book, play a game, make a healthy meal, see some friends, learn a new language, sit and do nothing, kick a ball, go shopping... the list goes on. The key point is to do something - anything - that takes your mind off that study or report or piece of coursework.
Setting a time for your breaks and planning what you want to do when you're done could be helpful, because you will be confident that you are prepared and can really enjoy the time away from work. That's what I have tried to do this week in the run up to travelling; I have put together a draft schedule for my myself for my first week back with some reminders of important dates and events, so I don't have to worry about keeping them in my head when I'm away.
My EngD has come to a natural breaking point and I will be able to relax with the knowledge that I have a plan for when I get back. My auto replies are on, my computer is at home, and I have a couple of books in my bag to keep me occupied. I am looking forward to actually "switching off" when on holiday, which I haven't done properly for a long time.
I will see you in a couple of weeks. And now that you've finished reading this, go take a break!