50 creative ways to improve your wellbeing in academia

You often hear about well-being. But do you know what well-being definition is? Find out about 50 surprisingly easy ways to improve your well-being now!

When writing academic manuscripts, we need to present novel ideas, thoughts and discoveries.

As researchers and academics, we tend to have rather busy lives. This starts from the very beginning of your PhD programme – you want to push the boundaries of the knowledge so you must work hard and work a lot, right?

But let me ask you the following questions:

How often do you feel overwhelmed?

How often do you feel that your PhD doesn’t have sense?

How often do you take care of your wellbeing?

That’s right, the amount of work you put in doing your PhD can put a lot of stress on your wellbeing. As I discussed before, you can burn out by pushing too hard.

Do you wonder why wellbeing is important? Well, it’s fundamental to your sustainable motivation and work-life balance.

Therefore, here I share 50 ways in which you can improve your wellbeing!

Wellbeing definition

Have you ever wondered how to define wellbeing? According to Wellbeing People, the term “wellbeing” represents “healthy, contented and prosperous condition we all aspire to“.

This means that:

  • we live a healthy life
  • we are happy about our life
  • we aspire to prosper in our life

To achieve wellbeing, our day-to-day actions need to support the above mentioned conditions.

What are the indicators of wellbeing?

As wellbeing is multifaced characteristic of our lives, there’s a lot of parameters that can describe it.

Let’s consider the Office for National Statistics in the UK. They consider wellbeing as “individual’s feeling of satisfaction with life, whether they feel the things they do in their lives are worthwhile and their positive and negative emotions“.

To assess wellbeing, they distinguish several measures, including:

  • life satisfaction
  • how worthwhile the things you do are
  • happiness
  • anxiety
  • mental health (wellbeing)

Which one do you think is the most important?

How do you improve wellbeing?

  1. Go for a walk in a forest or a park  
  2. Listen to your favourite music
  3. Switch off social media and detach from the technology
  4. Start writing a journal
  5. Call your friend or family
  6. Reflect on your recent success and put it in a “success jar”
  7. Learn to meditate and schedule meditation in your daily plan
  8. Take a yoga class
  9. Go swimming
  10. Go to the beach and listen to the sound of the sea (or ocean depending on where you live)
  11. Change your environment to less noisy and free of distractions
  12. Cut off from energy vampires – people who drain your energy for their own benefit
  13. Try to focus on here and now (i.e. enjoy the taste of your coffee or tea)
  14. Plan your day (and try to stick to it, including wellbeing breaks)
  15. Plan your relax time and allow yourself to take a break  
  16. Build healthy habits (i.e. consider breaks and try to wake up 5 minutes earlier to avoid the rush in the morning)
  17. Learn something new (i.e. new language or learn to play the ukulele)
  18. Explore your local area (and show us what you’ve found by tagging us on Instagram @MotivatedAcademic)
  19. Try something completely new (i.e. new sport)
  20. Read an inspiring book (and recommend it to the others)
  21. Take a day off and focus on yourself
  22. Go hiking and climb a mountain
  23. Send thank you messages to your friends and family
  24. Reflect on your life goals and add a few new ones
  25. Eat healthy food (as a way to healthier life!)
  26. Take care of your health (i.e. visit health advisor)
  27. Learn to think outside the box (i.e brainstorming techniques)
  28. Take a good nap
  29. Take care of your healthy sleep routine
  30. Learn to let things go
  31. Bury the hatchet with your colleague, friend, family member…
  32. Plant a tree (and help us to save the planet)
  33. Get a plant
  34. If you live alone, adopt a cat or a dog or any other animal (if you can and LOVE animals!)
  35. Write a novel
  36. Write a blog
  37. Pick up your camera (or phone) and take lots of pictures in your neighbourhood
  38. Observe nature
  39. Develop a morning routine
  40. Meet with friends and family (considering social distancing!)
  41. Slow down and reflect on your life
  42. Go out and enjoy the sun
  43. Find the best place to watch sunrise/sunset in your local area
  44. Learn to say no
  45. Sing out laud
  46. Read/watch something funny and laugh…a lot!
  47. Surprise yourself with a treat
  48. Learn to brew a new type of coffee
  49. Explore exotic teas and fruits
  50. Learn to cook a new dish (and share it with your friends if possible)

A final word…

It’s worthwhile to consider your wellbeing as early in your academic career as possible.

This won’t only help you be happier in your life, but will help you better cope with challenges and achieve sustainable motivation in your work.

How do you find ways to improve your wellbeing I shared here? What would you add? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Academic Coach at Motivated Academic, senior lecturer at Cranfield University, UK.

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