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Research Toolkit

Feeling fed up

Feeling fed up

Sometimes research can feel like an uphill battle:

  • too much work, too little time
  • not getting the results you’d hoped for
  • the experiment not working
  • grant/ethical approval rejection
  • feeling isolated
  • feeling like you don’t belong
  • lack of support
  • difficult work relationship

Feeling like it’s all too much? You’re not on your own: we’ve all felt like this. Don’t give up:

  • Take a break. Stop what you’re doing: do something else, get some fresh air, go for a run, sleep on it (things always seem better the next morning.)
  • Get some perspective: distill out what the problem is. Write it down or tell someone. Articulate it. Brainstorm: what would make the situation better? What do you need to do to achieve a solution? And when are you going to do it – set yourself deadlines for implementing changes.
  • Speak to as many people as possible, they’re usually really willing to help, offer a different point of view and can often recommend others who could help you. Don’t be afraid to ask!
  • Utilise all your sources of support including the official channels: your educational supervisor, clinical supervisor, TPD, academic supervisor, postgraduate tutor, mentor. They’re there to help. A problem shared is a problem halved.
  • Reflect on how you could avoid a similar problem from happening again. Is there a skill-gap you need to address? A contact you need to make? A course you need to go on?
  • Be kind to yourself. Remember and celebrate your successes.
  • Foster friendships and teamwork with those around you.
  • Pay attention to healthy things in your life: exercise, sleep, relaxation, friends and family. You want to be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, efficient, productive, creative and receptive to new ideas…you can’t do that if you’re fed-up and burnt-out.
  • Recognise that academia is highly competitive…rejections, hurdles and obstacles are par for the course. Resilience is about adapting to situations and bouncing back in the face of adversity. Don’t make mistakes twice – learn from them.
  • Disentangle successes and failures at work from your self-worth. Pick yourself up and dust yourself down. Keep trying if you want something. And don’t lose sight of the reason why you’re in this game in the first place…. to improve patients’/people’s lives.

Feeling better? Hope so. Don’t give up – we’re backing you. Keep backing yourself!