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I’ve been working from home for the last few months and it’s gradually started to wear me down. I don’t have a particularly strenuous job but I still live with my parents so things are quite tense at times when I want my own space.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really started to feel worn down and a lot of the things that once gave me pleasure now leave me feeling unfulfilled. I’m struggling to see the positive side of life and I’m beginning to question if I’m depressed

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    It's best to speak to a counsellor, that's what they are for. Most universities provide counselling services for staff and students. Besides this advice there is not much that we can do to help you, so I am voting to close the question.
    – Louic
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 12:04
  • that's a statement, not a question.
    – sleepy
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 12:17

1 Answer 1

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Louic is correct, a counsellor will be your best option for facing your current challenges.

Before the question gets eventually closed, however, I would like to remind you that it is extremely common for PhD candidates to feel burned out, even when there is no pandemic. Here are some quick points that can help you a little bit, until you can find a meeting with a counsellor:

(1) Divide each day into roughly 4 parts: one part for sleeping properly, another for taking care of your bodily health (walking, swimming, cycling, etc.), another for taking care of your mental health (make yourself laugh as much as possible for all sorts of silly reasons, socialize with your friends as much as possible), and another part for doing work. Of course, this is a rough division: it is fine to sometimes mix the "mental health" part with work (it is believed that walking in a relaxed green environment, or doing exercise, walking with a friend while talking about your research, etc. can stimulate your research creativity and bring forth new ideas)

(2) Talking about your research with friends or with a supervisor can help to keep you motivated about your research (so long as they attempt to provide constructive criticism!). Also, try to help your colleagues with their own work, and try to provide ideas for them to get out of their own holes.

(3) Try to spend a little bit of your time being of service to others, for example by answering questions on academia.stack exchange, etc. (of course, without jeopardizing your own workflow!)

(4) Reduce the amount of time that you are exposed to negative media such as harsh news programs or even comedy programs that are trying to make you feel outraged against someone or something. It might help to watch news only once a week, or listen to news only by radio (avoiding visual media), or stick to sites such as AllSides, Associated Press or Reuters, which tend to have a less combative take on the news.

(5) Prepare in writing a weekly schedule for getting your work done, and stick to it! Mark down all of your achievements and progress in order to encourage you. Set up a series of hours in which you completely turn down your phone, and turn off all notifications, write your dissertation without distractions. It is probably best to commit to a schedule where you go to bed early, wake up early around 5 or 6 am and you start writing, when everyone else is likely asleep (adjust this time according to your personal family situation).

(6) Try to be understanding with your parents and family, they are just as stressed as you are, and you are all in the same boat trying to pull through this pandemic. Maintain your sense of humor at all times.

That's it, take care and stay strong.

Also, check my answer to this previously-closed question: Mature PhD maths student going through a crisis and feeling pretty anxious and depressed about future - advice needed

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