From time to time, take time out for yourself. Go sit in a coffee shop. Go get your hair done. Go to the gym. Watch your favourite shows. Listen to your favourite music. Take up an old hobby. Do absolutely nothing! Whatever it is that makes you happy – go do it! Sometimes, as a parent (or a super-busy PhD Student!), we forget to do things for us, so now and again go treat yourself.
Sometimes, there may be no other option but to simply “give up” for a while. This could be through illness, or unexpected events in life’s journey. Things creep up on us when we least expect them, and at these times, we need to look after ourselves. If our little ones are unwell, and need to be snuggled up all day watching their favourite shows – let them. There is no point trying to carry on with work when you won’t be able to concentrate, it is sometimes better to simply accept it – accept the fact that you will get no work done. You will only end up even more stressed if you try to work, but can’t possibly cram everything in. Take time off when you need to. Rest when you need to. Look after yourself. Look at life’s unexpected hiccups as opportunities to refresh yourself – to recharge your batteries.
Perhaps nothing significant has happened in your life, but you have simply lost your mojo along the way. Sometimes I just can’t write. I can’t focus. I can’t work. Treat these times in the same way – give yourself some time off from writing – to rest. If needs be, an intentional break from the PhD could prove really useful (if finances allow). You can always come back to the PhD. Come back when you are feeling refreshed and recharged! Parenting can be a rollercoaster. Doing a PhD can be a rollercoaster. Parenting and doing a PhD will no doubt be one hell of a rollercoaster, but you will always get back up.
When times get tough, remember why you started doing the PhD. Little by little, you will get there. Keep going. Don’t give up. You can do this!