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The Happy PhD Zone: How to Maintain a Work-Life Balance in Academia

Image credit - memegenerator.net

Image credit – memegenerator.net


What do you do to stay in the happy PhD zone? Signe Asberg describes how she maintains the (mythical?) work-life balance as a PhD student. She offers good advice and useful hacks to help you discover your own happy PhD zone and keep you organized, focused, and healthy.

Stand Up, Stay Awhile

UntitledAs students, hours are spent sitting at a desk to study, attend class, write essays – the list goes on. So what can this prolonged sitting do to your health? Experts say that even with appropriate activity levels incorporated into every day living, nothing can counter the detrimental effects of sitting for long periods of time. It is for that reason that it is recommended that individuals stand for 2-4 hours of their workday. To read more about the benefits of standing, and the harmful effects of sitting, click here.


Image provided by Juhan Sonin via CC license on Flickr

Why You Should Sleep in Grad School

UntitledBusy with school work? Think skipping out on sleep is a good way to catch up? Think again. Depriving yourself of sleep is not only unhealthy, but it may backfire in terms of productivity. This article outlines both short term and long term effects of lacking your Z’s, including:

          • Decreased accuracy of work
          • Reduced ability to make decisions
          • Increased blood pressure
          • Risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes

To read more of the justifications for getting your beauty sleep, click here.


By Psy3330 W10 (Own work) [Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported], via Wikimedia Commons

Keeping Stress Levels in Check

UntitledIn order to do better in school, you as a student may try to work harder; this more stringent level of work may then cause you to become more stressed. Unfortunately, becoming more stressed can in turn have negative effects on schoolwork, and you may find yourself back at square one despite the increase in effort. For this reason it is important to keep stress levels in check when striving for success. This article provides some simple tips for managing stress without compromising your time spent working:

-       Get organized

-       Get enough sleep

-       Use stress management skills

To learn more about these tips and read the rest of the list, click here.

 Image provided by Abby_B via CC license on Flickr

Fitting Fitness in a Busy Schedule

UntitledMany students feel as though they don’t have the time in their schedule to make fitness a part of their lifestyle. However, whether you are a workout pro or a beginner with no equipment, whether you have an hour or just 20 minutes, this website has the appropriate workout for you. Simply browse workouts and specify the time you’d like to commit to exercise. You’ll soon see how easy it is to include fitness in your now healthier lifestyle, even with a busy student schedule.

Image provided by Ed Yourdon licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Mental Health at Western

UntitledAn important part of your overall well-being is maintaining your mental health. Western works to ensure its students are taken care of physically, academically, and mentally through its many student resources. Mental health services at Western include on campus, by phone, and in-community resources ranging from peer support to addiction services. Click here to access the many links for various resources.

Image provided by Sasha Wolff via CC license on Flickr

Benefits of Physical Exercise for Brain Health

UntitledWe are all aware of the many physical benefits of exercise: cardiovascular health, strength gain, weight control etc. What may be new information, however, is that these benefits extend to our brain’s health and function as well. This article, citing a study at the University of Adelaide in 2014, describes the finding that just 30 minutes of vigorous exercise can increase the plasticity, meaning the brain’s “ability to change physically, functionally, and chemically.” Read the article to learn more about brain plasticity and its potential relationship to exercise.

Image provided by Martin Borgman via CC license on Flickr

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