PhD & Downtime IV

What we like to do to relax…

by Veronika Schuchter



For me running is a lot like doing a PhD, except that it is not. It usually takes a lot of convincing for me to get going and a lot of bribery is involved (if you run those 8k, Veronika, you can have those extra crisps!). I’m generally a very static person when it comes to productivity; my best ideas tend to come when I’m sat at a desk and won’t allow myself to do anything until I’m happy with the result. Curiously, in contrast to many people I know, I don’t do a lot of academic thinking when I’m running. And that is the beauty of it for me. It is much more of a way for me to deal with and get rid of any emotional baggage I might have been carrying around with me – getting out of the library and the house helps me a great deal to just literally leave it all behind.

If you’re interested in that topic, hook & eye have done an excellent series of blog post on “Women, Academia, Sport” which you can find here.



There are few things I find as relaxing as the prospect of spending an entire day snuggled up in bed or on the couch with an entire new series just waiting to be watched. I don’t believe in spreading it out over a couple of days and savour the experience, not at all. I want the next episode immediately if not sooner and I know that I would never be disciplined enough to stop after one or two episodes and go to sleep. I guess this is my way of damage control – all or nothing.

Binge recommendations

I’m currently catching up on all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls before the revival in November (a must!), Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Grace & Frankie (if you haven’t watched it, make time for it because you will not regret it!), Rita (a lovely Danish series about an unconventional teacher).



Like Fiona in the second post on our series I love a good podcast. Just like with Netflix, I enjoy having the flexibility of catching up at a time that suits my needs and work schedule. It’s also a great way of getting away from staring into my laptop and phone; I tend to listen to music and podcasts for a little while after coming home from the library, just to help me transition and enjoy my free evening and, if necessary, make me feel less grumpy.

Two of my absolute favourites:

Witch, Please

This is my favourite podcast hands down. Two self-proclaimed Canadian Lady Scholars, Hannah McGregor and Marcelle Kosman, discuss the Harry Potter books/films in a series of episodes that are fun, fiercely feminist and wonderfully original – lots of swearing too!

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Imagine your parent taking to pen and paper and writing an erotic novella. If that wasn’t enough they also do it really, really badly. One coping mechanism apparently seems to be reading it out loud on the internet and have your friends help you analyse and comment on its juicy contents. Well worth a listen!



And last but not least it’s the little things that can make all the difference. For the past few years, I’ve been trying to make a real effort to recognise and appreciate great little moments when they are happening, and as cliché as that may sound, be more present in the moment. I’m often guilty of continuously telling myself “just get through this chapter”, “just get through this PhD and after…” – the “and after…” phrase has become a habit of mine of which I’m not very proud. I’m working hard to eliminate that mode of thinking and really enjoy that Sunday afternoon in the sun with friends, enjoy that drink in the evening, or meeting up for lunch. Actively making time and taking an afternoon off without feeling guilty about it and consciously appreciating the downtime has really made a difference to me.