A day off in the weeks leading up to your viva is not going to detract from your viva performance.

A day off in the week leading up to your viva doesn’t mean that you’re not taking it seriously.

A day off the day before your viva is possibly the best thing you can do, assuming you’ve already invested time in getting ready.

Rest helps. Unless you can’t sit still, unless you just have to do something, then taking some time to relax, recover, rest, destress and focus on being well is perhaps the most helpful thing you can do to help yourself before the viva.

Take today to rest, if you can.


Take breaks, make breakthroughs!

Another Bank Holiday Rest Post

Quite simply, it’s the best thing to say on days like today.

Yes, you need to read your thesis, make notes, have conversations and do lots of thinking before the viva…

…but you also need to rest. Relax. Recharge. Restore yourself.

Do what you can, not only so you’re rested for the viva, but so that you’re helping yourself generally.

Expect another of these posts in four weeks!

Running On Empty

If you’ve nothing left when you sit down to get ready for the viva, then you’re not ready to get ready.

Take a break.

Submit, then stop.

Pause, then prep.

Relax and restore, then ready yourself. You can’t get ready for the viva if you have nothing more to give.

A few weeks or even a few days can be enough to recover from that final push to get your thesis finished and submitted. Viva preparation does not require fantastic efforts either, so if in day-to-day life, after work and other commitments you only have a little, then only give a little. You don’t need to ruin yourself to get ready.

Rest, restore and refuel first.

Final Touches

A lot of universities (at least in the UK) will be closing for the holidays today. As a postgraduate researcher, a university being officially closed won’t mean that the work has to stop for you. There’s always more thinking, more reading, more catching up-

-but there’s also a need for rest. A need for a break. A need to put work and research to one side and gather yourself up for what will most probably be a challenging 2021.

If you’re submitting in the first few months of next year, or have your viva some time in that period – or if you’re still somewhere in the middle of your PhD – take a little time today or tomorrow just to leave yourself in a good place for when you come back to things in the new year. Leave a few notes for what you need to do next.¬†What’s your priority when you start back? The first thing you have to do? Who’s the first person you’ll need to get in touch with or reach out to?

And leave yourself a message. Thank yourself. Boost yourself. Remind yourself.

You’ve got this far; you can do it.

A Break Day

It’s not just a day off.

It’s an opportunity to tell yourself that you’re doing the right thing by having a day off.

It’s a time to tell yourself that you need to rest too.

It’s hopefully space to really get some rest and relaxation, in a period when there may have been fewer opportunities to do so.

Rest is an important part of life, never mind viva preparation – but if you are preparing, do take some time just to pause. Take breaks. Let your mind relax a little. Take some time to rest and help yourself be ready.

Take today, for a start.

Another Bank Holiday

If you’re writing up your thesis, you can take a day off.

If your viva is soon, you can take a day off.

If your viva is done and you’re working on corrections, you can take a day off.

Rest and relaxation is required, not a nice little bonus if you get around to it.

What you’re doing is important.

So take a day off.

#takebreaksmakebreakthroughs (with thanks to Dr Kay Guccione!)

Day Off

If you spend every day between submission and the viva doing some effective viva prep, then you’ll be in a great position for the viva. If you do nothing between submission and the viva, you probably won’t be in a great position for the viva.

Do some viva prep regularly on the lead up to the viva. But if, say, on a Bank Holiday, you take a day off? You’ll be fine. If there’s no bank holiday in the period leading up to your viva, still take a few days off. Well-placed breaks are just as important as the hard work you put in towards a goal.

[inspired by #takebreaksmakebreakthroughs which Dr Kay Guccione tweets about a lot!]