How will all this affect my research?
I am experiences delays, what consequences will this have?
The lab, when will it be open again?
It is really impossible to carry out my analyses because of my poor internet connection.
I feel lonely.
When will I be able to see my family?
I find it so hard to cook for myself every day.
I am feeling worse for wear.
How about money?
I really miss exercising, I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin at all.
I would love to go out to a bar with friends.
I keep procrastinating, I don’t think I will succeed in finishing my PhD.
It is so hard to stay focused on my thesis.
Thinking won’t change you obsessing over things.
Thoughts that keep on spinning in your head. They come and go. Come back even faster. Fretting. Worrying. Not sleeping well. Not getting your work done. Hoping everything will be better soon. Talking to others about your worries. Obsessing even more. Self-help books. They help a little for a while, sometimes.
Are you also trying to solve your worries and fretting by using your head? By thinking even more about it all? Talk about it, and then even more thinking?
It is obvious that this seems the right way to address your worries. However, often it won’t help. You were already in your head with all that fretting. To go even more in your head and think more about it, will only make it worse.
Try to fill your head with something else
There are so many things we don’t know about our brain. What we do know is: your brain can’t handle two things at the same time. Your brain can’t fret and read a book for instance. So, go and read books, fun books, books that make you happy. Try to find books with great stories, reread the books you loved when you were young.
Try to plan your ‘fretting time’
Make a deal with yourself to fret for a certain amount of time each day. Fifteen minutes for example. Plan these fifteen minutes and really revel in it.
Do something that doesn’t require thinking
Plan tasks that don’t require thinking: do some exercises, make music, draw, paint, garden, do odd jobs, sing, take care of yourself. You will feel like a different person.
Don’t blame yourself for fretting
It is very normal that you worry now and then and obsess over things. These times are so different from any other. So, it is ok if you worry occasionally. Nothing to blame yourself for. It is just something that happens. You could learn a technique by meditating; you observe yourself and therefor notice you are not your thoughts and start distancing yourself from them a little.