The ‘S’ word!

Should! Ok, it might not have been the ‘S’ word you were thinking of, but it’s still a pretty important word.

‘Should’ statements tend to take on a negative view of life and can lower self-esteem and increase anxiety.

I should do some work
I should really do some work
I should really really do some work
Darn, I should really really do some work!

Generally, I’m a sucker for using the ‘should’ word though – and not just when it comes to PhD work.

I should clean the house
I should get out of bed
I should have a shower
I should do some exercise
I should eat healthier

Even though I’m now working on my PhD part-time, I still feel like I should be doing something every day. With lockdown and having to work from home, not having the week broken up by exciting weekend visits to see friends or family has made each day and week feel the same (this is slowly changing though).

I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to do this PhD, to be successful, to get a good job. The feeling of needing to do something all the time is always there for me. A certain amount of pressure is good but too much can be detrimental and have the opposite effect.

It’s been a huge change coming back to PhD this year after having a year off and then all the changes with COVID has been overwhelming at times. Recently, I have been trying to use other words, such as will, can, could, want. It’s tough and requires a lot of self-awareness, but the more I notice it, the easier it gets. I feel less shame and guilt for not doing something and more motivated to do it because I want to, rather than something I ‘should’ do.

This is a GIF I made as part of an Arty-Folks ‘homework’ project to creatively animate a cognitive distortion.

Please get in touch or comment below if you have any questions or can relate to this post. I would really love to hear from you!

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