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Health, Wellbeing and Work-Life Balance in the PhD

Whatever stage of the PhD you’re at right now, you will probably have discovered that moving through the doctoral journey is as much about managing your overall health and wellbeing as it is about the doing the research itself.

There are many things you can do for your wellbeing and to sustain a healthy work-life balance. Among them, discussing your experiences and hearing insights from fellow PhD friends and colleagues is a really helpful way of finding solidarity, empathy and support from people who understand the many aspects of PhD life.

A ‘How to Survive your PhD‘ online workshop in July explored various issues that current PhD students are facing, especially in light of recent lockdown and work-from-home restrictions. As well as facilitating small group discussions, 11 PhD and postdoctoral researchers shared their personal experiences and strategies for dealing with specific challenges in the PhD, and helped to answer questions from workshop participants.

Watch their 30-minute panel discussion here, chaired by workshop facilitators, Taryn Bell and Lucy Moore. Or view videos about specific topics around wellbeing in the PhD journey below:

Managing expectations of yourself
– Holly Brown, PhD researcher, Department of Psychology

Managing changes to your PhD
– Richard Lee, PhD researcher, Department of Archaeology
– Zaynab Seedat, PhD researcher, Department of English & Comparative Literatures

Illness and caring responsibilities
– Alison Edwards, PhD researcher, Department of Archaeology
– Cooper Grace Postdoctoral research associate, Department of Biology

Doing PhD research at different times of life
– Ruth Lee, Postdoctoral research associate, Department of Psychology
– Maria Turkenberg-Van Diepen, Postdoctoral research associate, Department of Education

Dealing with stress
– Jeep Siriviriyakul, Postdoctoral research associate, York Management School

Achieving a good work-life balance
-Amy Creighton, PhD researcher, Department of History

All interviews are also conducted by Taryn Bell and Lucy Moore, both PhD researchers from the Department of Archaeology.

We hope you’ll find some helpful suggestions and motivation from these resources, as you move through your PhD. It might be useful to watch some of these videos with other PhD colleagues and friends, and create your own small discussion groups around issues that are most important to you. The strength and support offered by community, friendship and peer discussion can make a huge difference both to your wellbeing and your thesis.


This workshop was organised as a part of the peer-led ‘How to Survive your PhD‘ series of workshops, organised by PhD students for PhD students.

Find details of other workshops on Skillsforge, or for any enquiries, email the PGR student liaison officer: PGR-liaison-officer@york.ac.uk

We also always welcome PhD and postdoc researchers to join the project and volunteer as a speaker for the workshops. Read further details here or email the PGR student liaison officer to express your interest: PGR-liaison-officer@york.ac.uk. We’d love for you to join us!

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