How Do I Manage Stress and Why Don’t I Burn Out (So Far at Least)?

Perhaps you didn’t know, but I have a full-time job as a senior lecturer with a research group, and I also have a family with four kids who live at home and a husband. As you can imagine this work-life balance puzzle doesn’t always work well. Sometimes it is really not fun at all. And sometimes I feel simply like such an imposture both at home and at work.  There simply isn’t energy enough to be a good mom, and a good researcher and taking time for everyone and everyting.

How do I then manage stress and not burning out? Well, I think that these are my personal experiences that have helped me:

  1. I am perfectly convinced that I could burn out. It is not something that just happens to everyone else and not me. I pay close attention to stress signals, and as a researcher on digitalization and the work environment I have read up on what those symptoms could be. When, and not IF, it gets too much I try to be kind to myself and reschedule.
  2. I force myself to log off completely now and then. No “pica boo” use of the mail in my phone during (some) evenings, and in some weekends. This doesn’t always work though…
  3. I have friends and colleagues who keep an eye on me and help me. Thanks Christiane, Rose-Mharie, Virginia et al.!. We discuss academia a lot, and also choices we make in life, and they are always there to support me.
  4. I make appointments with an excellent career coach, Rabbe Hedengren, when I end up too far outside my comfort zone, as for example when I attracted three research grants in one week, or when the DOME consortium was starting up.
  5. I am married to an excellent listener, who helps me sort things out when I end up having too much in my calendar. He has such great patience with me. ‘
  6. I go for long walks. Or jogging in periods of my life.
  7. Try to see the kids as mindfulness exercises. Reading for them, doing homework etc focusing on them only.
  8. I see to it that I sleep well at night. And I sleep intil I wake up feeling OK. I never sleep less than 7,5 hours per night.
  9. No work after eight o’clock at night since this affects my sleep.

What do you do that helps you handle stress in academia?