Dissertation Stress & How to beat it

Friday 25 January 2019

(Thank you to my boyfriend for this adorable picture) 

Hello, hello, hello. I have not been active in quite a few weeks. I have posted, obviously. But I haven't actually sat down and written a blog post in a really long time. And it is definitely because I have been suffocating under the stress of my workload. I am currently writing a dissertation and a final major project. Now, as a far as I am aware (and please correct me if I am wrong), only students in the arts do final major projects? It's like course work in a way. Instead of exams, we just have a massive project to hand in at the end of the third year. 
But anyway...
Majority of my time has been focused on finishing my dissertation, so I don't have to think about it ever again. Writing a dissertation is definitely a tense time and if you aren't even a little bit stressed, you aren't doing it right. I have been thinking a lot lately about what it takes to write a successful paper, but then I realised, I don't even know if mine is successful yet. So, I scrapped that post idea and now I am going to talk about the actual stress surrounding this time. 

Start early 

Every single person says this but honestly do it. Start planning and researching your project really early. People will tell it's too soon to start thinking about it, but I promise you, it is so worth it when you get to this point in the year and you are proud of what you have written.  You are going to need so many books, journals and articles to pour into your dissertation, so why not start early? 

Check on your friends regularly 

All the people on your course, in your year or even in your university are all facing deadlines around the same time. Make sure you reach out to your friends regularly and often. Approach everyone you see with kind words and help as many people as you can, without it hindering your own work. Writing a dissertation is intimidating and the stress gets to people in every way. Some days, you will lose motivation altogether. But remember, your friends are in the same boat and it's important to keep checking on them, reminding them that this paper is just a gateway to greater things and they need to keep going. 

It is okay to take the day off

Take the day off, change your scenery, don't look at your dissertation for a full day, do something fun.  Yes, you are at university to complete this paper and yes, this is an important year but you still come first and so does your mental health. Taking a break is important and it is vital for you to not judge yourself when you do this. Don't feel guilty. Just give your brain a rest. Just don't let a day turn into a week - a mistake I think we all have made at some point. 

Set yourself goals

Every day, before I head to the library, I always set myself goals. They start off simple - today, you will not cry or leave the library in frustration. And then eventually - I will set myself other goals. For example, I will write a chapter today and tomorrow, I will re-draft it. If you go into your workspace completely unfocused, you will leave unaccomplished. Give your tomorrow-self a break and set goals today. 

Self-care is important! 

Self-care is always important. However, when I am stressed, things like eating and sleeping always seem to slip first. If you have read any of my other posts, you will know that I have a few things that I think really make the difference around deadline time. For me, something I love doing is putting on a facemask or teeth whitening strips and having a relaxing bath. The current whitening strips I am using are these ones Marbonne which are peroxide free. I got them on Amazon for only £10, but which I don't think is a lot to pay for a product that works as well as this one. I don't know about you - but when I am having a lot of late night working, I often binge on coffee. Which isn't great for your teeth. However, I can feel a little less guilty if I use these strips. 
Whatever your self-care routine is during stressful times, remember to not forget yourself and your own body. Take a bath, read a book, put on a facemask - make time for yourself. 

If you need an extra hour in bed - have an extra hour in bed (No-one is counting)
If you wake up and you physically can't peel yourself from your bed, stay there for another hour. It's not high school. You are responsible for yourself, so if you need a little more sleep, have it. I think people forget that your brain can get tired too and sometimes it needs to recalculate. Sleep is your friend and your brain needs it to do the best work it can. 

Don't work in the same place you sleep

Talking of sleep - don't work in your bedroom if you can avoid it. This took me the WHOLE THREE YEARS of university to realise but if you work in the same room you sleep in, your brain struggles to separate the two. You won't be able to get good work done or good sleep in the same room. 

Thank you for reading!
I hope you are doing okay whether you are writing a dissertation, you have to write on in the future or you are not going to write one ever. 

If you want to purchase some teeth whitening strips from Marbonne, click here. 
(They are also Amazon's choice in best selling teeth whitening products)

*This post is sponsored but all opinions are my own. 

Join the conversation!

  1. So proud of you.

    -K xx

  2. YES! welcome back

  3. These are some great tips here! I'm a lecturer and my students are trying to cope with the stress of dissertations at the moment. When I was a student, I can remember how easy it was to forget self-care at this stressful time, but it's so important! The best of luck with your dissertation - you'll feel amazing once it's all over!


  4. Really great tips, so proud of all the hard work you have put into your dissertation. Good luck, I'm sure it's amazing! I felt so relieved when I handed mine in, I'm sure you will too x

  5. Welcome back and thank you so much for these tips!
    Congrats on finishing your dissertation! :D

    Fran x | http://www.frantasmagoria.co.uk/


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